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Wearing their dads’ initials on their arms in honor of Father’s Day (from left) Cierra Acevedo, Skyler LaFisca, Becca Bocock, Johnna Filipponi, Gianna Casale, Mia Land, Carley Lederman, Tina Fedor, Lizzie Kelly, Ayanna Stetzick and Kelsey Smith celebrate their Summer Sizzler title in Edgewater Park. 
Travel Softball
HGSA 10U Blues win seventh tournament of the season

12U Blues win Hopewell title; go 4-1 in USSSA qualifier

Celebrating their title sweep of the HGSA Major Division are First Bank members, first row, from left, Katie Philburn, Nicole Cerasi, Sam Spera, Rachel Doan and Cassidy Palyok; second row, manager Joe Cerasi, Sam Morrell, Emily Diszler, Natalie Kozemchak, Bailee Brelsford, Sabrina Heineman and coach Sherri Doan; and back row, coaches Tim Philburn, Bob Diszler and Jim Turner. Not pictured: player Amber Ritter.
June 11 HGSA Majors
First Bank wins second consecutive playoff title

HGSA hosting Babe Ruth district tournaments this week

June 10 Majors
Doctor's Express wins thriller to reach title game

            June 10:
Third-seeded Doctors Express outlasted second-seeded Joe's Hamilton Transmission, 8-7, in eight innings to win a semifinal and reach the Major Division championship game against regular-season champion First Bank. The teams were tied 1-1 through a six-inning pitcher's duel before the offenses erupted in the two extra innings.
            For Doctors Express (7-6), Courtney McLaughlin knocked in Jordyn Varone with the decisive run in the eighth and starting pitcher Gracie Gaskill went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Jenna Mastropolo was the winning pitcher.
       Kaylee "The Salad Princess" Whittaker went 3-for-3, including a two-run triple, and Maddie Zeleznik had two hits for Joe's Hamilton Transmission (7-6).

The Hamilton Hurricanes 10U Blue display their trophies after qualifying for the USSSA World Series. Showing off the hardware are (front row, from left) Cierra Acevedo, Lizzie Kelly, Skyler LaFisca, Avery Kontura, Ayanna Stetzick; (bck row) Mia Land, Becca Bocock, Johnna Filipponi, Gianna Casale, Carley Lederman and Tina Fedor.
10U Blue Canes dominate to reach USSSA World Series
Hurricane 10U Blues win a friendly and win at Flemington

The Hamilton 14U Blue Hurricanes were all smiles after qualifying for the USSSA World Series by winning the May Madness Tournament
14U Blue Canes win May Madness to reach World Series

Celebrating after winning their seventh tournament title of the spring are Hamilton Hurricanes 12U Blue All-Stars. Team members are (front row, from left), Sophie DeFrank, Maddie Zeleznik, Nicole Cerasi, Alex Haley, Gracie Gaskill and Christina Weil; (second row), Natalie Kozemchak, Ciara Donaldson, Kaylee “The Salad Princess” Whittaker, Haley Lestician, Gabbie Fonollosa and Delaney Misier; (third row), manager Joe Cerasi and coaches Milt “The Salad Patriarch” Whittaker and Craig Haley.
Hurricane 12U Blues win seventh tourney title of season
12U Blue Canes do what it takes to win Pony Qualifier
Hamilton runs out of Jackson with 12U Run-In crown

Raise your hand if you're having fun? About 60 of the younger players from Hamilton Girls Softball Association participated in the Memorial Day parade in Mercerville and Hamilton Square. HGSA is winding down its regular season, with its Hamilton Hurricanes all-star teams continuing to play throughout the summer.

June 2 HGSA Majors
Doctors Express finishes regular season at .500
        June 2: Doctors Express evened its record after finishing the regular season with a 12-7 win over Pete Lestician Auto Repair. Manager Fran Mozgai's squad (6-6) spread the offense between winning pitcher Gracie Gaskill (3-for-3, two RBI, run), Alex Haley (2-for-3, two runs, RBI), Courtney McLaughlin (two runs, two RBI), Jayden Glazewski (two RBI), Emily Mozgai (two runs) and Jordyn Varone (two runs).
         For Lestician's, Ciara Donaldson went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Sophie DeFrank was 2-for-3.

May 20 HGSA Majors
McLaughlin, Haley power Doctor’s Express to big victory
        May 20: Courtney McLaughlin (4-for-4, three RBIs, two runs) and Alex Haley (3-for-3, three runs, four RBIs) fueled Doctors Express (5-6) to a 15-1 win over Joe's Hamilton Transmission. Jordyn Varone (four runs), Lizzie Kelly (2-for-2, three runs) and Emily Vargas (two RBIs) also backed winning pitcher Gracie Gaskill.
       Taylor Mulryne singled in Shannon McCoy for Joe's Hamilton Transmission.

May 19 HGSA Majors
Mastropolo twirls a gem as Doctors Express operates
          May 19: Jenna Mastropolo threw a four-hit complete game as Doctors Express defeated Hamilton Supply, 9-4, in HGSA Major Division play. Alex Haley was 3-for-3 with three runs, Gracie Gaskill drove in three runs with two hits, Courtney McLaughlin had two hits and an RBI, and Jayden Glazewski and Emily Vargas scored two runs each in the win.
         For Hamilton Supply, Ashley Veisz went 2-for-3 with two runs and Hanna Babuschak and Victoria Comfort had one hit each.

May 17 HGSA Instructional
Pintinalli helps Green Lawn to victory
        May 17: Sophia Pintinalli struck out three in two innings and connected with first baseman Ava Estrada to finish off Green Lawn’s win over Foley’s Market in HGSA Instructional play today. Jamison Misier swung a hot bat for Foley’s while Rylee Michalak pitched a strong game.

May 13 HGSA Majors
Salad Princess was regal on mound, at plate for Joe’s
         May 13: Kaylee “The Salad Princess” Whittaker was a one-player wrecking crew in leading Joe's Hamilton Transmission past Doctors Express, 9-0, today in an HGSA Major Division game. Whittaker fired a three-hit shutout over five innings and went 3-for-3 with two doubles, three runs and four RBIs. Madison Mulryne and Nicole Pappas collected two hits each, and Kiki McCarthy and Maddie Zeleznik scored two runs each in the win.
        Gracie Gaskill, Alex Haley and Kaylie Smith collected the hits for Doctors Express.

May 12 HGSA Majors
Doan’s bat explodes as First Bank tops Doctors Express
        May 12: First Bank continued its hold on first place by rallying past Doctors Express, 8-7, in HGSA Major Division softball. Rachel Doan had a home run and four RBIs for the Bank (7-2), and Natalie Kozemchak (two runs), Sabrina Heineman and winning pitcher Cassidy Palyok collected two hits each.
     Jordyn Varone (two-run triple, two runs), Gracie Gaskill (two-run double, two runs) and Alex Haley (2-for-3, RBI, run) paced the offense for Doctors Express (3-5).

May 9-10 HGSA Instructional
Foley's wins a pair as Michalek, Kohuts get huge doubles
          May 10: Foley's Shop n Bag came off the weekend with two big victories in HGSA Instructional play.On Friday, Foley's defeated Green Lawn Irrigation, 4-1, as Rylee Michalak slammed a two-run double in the third to put Foley's on the board, followed by big hits from Holly Muni and Katelyn Haubert.
          Today, Foley's took a 3-2 victory over Hamilton Dental. In the second inning, Adrianna Salzano singled followed by Nev Bridgers double, Olivia Simonelli's RBI single and Ava Kohuts huge two-run double. Isabella Antosiewicz pitched well for Hamilton Dental in her Instructional debut with two strikeouts.

The HGSA 10U Blue Hurricanes (below) show off their championship banner won this past Sunday, which punched their ticket to the Pony National Tournament in Virginia this summer. Team members include (front row, from left) Cierra Acevedo, Lizzie Kelly, Skyler LaFisca, Avery Kontura, Ayanna Stetzick, Kelsey Smith; (back row) Tina Fedor, Gianna Casale, Johnna Filipponi, Becca Bocock, Carley Lederman and Mia Land. Above,
(back row, from left) Kontura, LaFisca and Stetzick help Lederman celebrate her 100th game as a Hurricane during the weekend.May 11 Youth Softball
Hurricane 10U Blues win Mom's Splash National Qualifier

May 5-6 HGSA Majors
Lestician tops Doctors Express, which tops Supply
          May 6: Pete Lestician Auto Repair (3-5) scored the final three runs of a 7-4 victory over Doctors Express (3-4) in HGSA Major Division play tonight. Gabbie Fonollosa had three hits and winning pitcher Haley Lestician, Abby Sargeant and Sophie DeFrank collected two each.
         Alex Haley delivered a two-run single and walk for Doctors Express, while Amy Vargas (2-for-3), Courtney McLaughlin (RBI) and Jayden Glazewski (RBI) also supported pitcher Jenna Mastropolo.
         A day earlier, Gracie Gaskill lived up to her "G-Money" nickname in leading Doctors Express to a 1-0 victory over Hamilton Supply. Gaskill threw a one-hitter and didn't walk a batter and she singled in Emily Vargas with two outs in the third inning for the game's only run. A solid defense backed Gaskill's gem.
       Ashley Veisz allowed only four hits in the loss and Victoria Comfort collected the lone hit off Gaskill.

May 2-3 HGSA Minors
K of C well armed for victory with Stetzick and Mehl
          May 3: Riding the arms of Ayanna Stetzick and Julia Mehl, with the help of slick fielding shortstop Lizzie Kelly, Knights of Columbus picked up two wins this weekend in HGSA Minor Action.
          On Friday night, K of C defeated Simco Construction, 10-6, as Stetzick struck out four in three innings of work for the win. Mehl pitched two scoreless innings for the save. Alyssa and Kaitlyn Angelucci and Brynn Krauser scored runs for K of C. Bella Truelove had an inside the park HR for Simco.
         This morning, the Knights defeated Poor Boys, 4-1. Stetzick (9 strikeouts in three innings) locked into a pitcher’s duel with Sklylar Lafisca, as the game was tied 1-1 thru three fames. K of C broke it open with three runs in the fourth, led by Tina Fedor (2 hits), Megan Krenciki and Maddie Saltstein (run scored). Mehl fanned five in the final two innings for the win. Carley Lederman had an inside the park home run for Poor Boys.

May 2 HGSA Instructional
Hamilton Dental takes two straight victories
      May 2: Allison Fonollosa struck out four in two innings as Hamilton Dental defeated Green Lawn Irrigation for its first win of the year in the HGSA Instructional League. Cara Mazzucco scored two runs for Dental, while Paige Schultz, Kamryn Wylie and Gracie Feijo also scored. Simone Pitinally, Kaitlyn Zuccarello and Kelly Furman all scored for Green Lawn.
       Dental took a 2-1 win over Kusnirik Law, 2-1, as Addison Hassan and Kylee Perez each scored second-inning runs and Paige Schultz got the save. Isabella Bonacci pitched a strong game for Kusnirik.

Apr. 25 HGSA Majors
Bocock’s sterling pitching leads Simco Construction
        Apr. 25: Simco Construction edged Investors Bank, 3-2, in HGSA Minor Division action tonight. Bella Truelove's started Simco’s fifth-inning rally by doubling home Becca Bocock. Truelove tug up on Heather Russell’s fly ball (caught by Marissa Blankenbiller). Bocock pitched four scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts for the win.
       For Investor's Bank, Johnna Filipponi struck out eight in three innings for a no decision, and Kelsey Smith reached safely both times up.

The Hamilton Hurricanes 12U Blue All-Stars come together for a post-game huddle after becoming the fifth 12U team in HGSA history to qualify for the Babe Ruth Softball World Series this past weekend.
Apr. 27 Travel Softball
12U Hurricanes will be heading to Babe Ruth World Series

Apr. 28 HGSA Majors
Griggs, Donaldson, Glahn power Lestician Auto Repair
        Apr. 28: Caitlin Griggs went 4-for-4 and Ciara Donaldson and Ava Glahn collected three hits each to fuel Pete Lestician Auto Repair to a 10-4 win over Doctors Express in HGSA Major Division play. Haley Lestician was the winning pitcher, working five innings for Lestician's (2-4). Courtney McLaughlin (double) and Gracie Gaskill both went 2-for-3 for Doctors Express (2-3).

Apr. 28 HGSA Seniors
Rockwell Dentistry gets lots of contributiions in win
       Apr. 28: Rockwell Dentistry took a 15-5 win over Hamilton Mazda in HGSA Senior Division play, as Morgan Sisz struck out seven to notch the win. Nicole Cerasi, Kelly Keane, Taylor Hawkes, Olivia Owens, Kodi Stout, Victoria Comfort, Ashley Kinczel, Amira Abed and Sabrina Heinamann all had hits and scored runs for the winners.

The Hamilton Hurricanes 10U Blue team was all smiles after going 3-0 and outscoring teams 28-0 in the Marlton Storm One-Day Tournament. Team members include (front row, from left) Cierra Acevedo, Mia Land, Avery Kontura, Ayanna Stetzick, Lizzie Kelly, Skyler LaFisca; (middle row) Kelsey Smith, Tina Fedor, Becca Bocock, Johnna Filipponi, Gianna Casale, Carley Lederman; (back row) coach Pat Smith, scorekepper Ryan Lederman, coach Andy Kelly, manager Steve LaFisca and coaches John Stetzick and Bob Bocock.
Travel Softball
10U Blue Hurricanes unstoppable at Marlton tourney

Apr. 22-23 HGSA Majors
Doctors Express picks up two wins with heavy hitting
       Apr. 23: Doctors Express had contributions from throughout the lineup in beating Hamilton Supply, 11-9, for its first win of the season in HGSA Major Division play Tuesday. Gracie Gaskill worked three innings for the win and belted a triple and a home run with six RBI, while Jenna Mastropolo earned a three-inning save. Courtney McLaughlin collected a single and RBI double, Alex Haley had a two-run single and two runs, and Emily Vargas singled in a run for manager Fran Mozgai's squad.
         Hamilton Supply's Ashley Veisz went 3-for-3 and Victoria Comfort had two hits, three runs and an RBI.
        Doctors Express then defeated Joe's Hamilton Transmission, 10-2, tonight to even its record at 2-2. Jordyn Varone had a three-run triple and scored twice to back Gaskill and Mastropolo, who pitched three innings each. Gaskill, Haley and Vargas had the team's other hits.
       Maddie Zeleznik went 2-for-2, while Madison Mulryne and Christina Weil both had a hit and a run for Joe's Hamilton Transmission.

Apr. 19 HGSA Instructional

Haubert’s big hit sparks Foley’s to win over Dental
       Apr. 19: Katelyn Haubert drove in the go-ahead run to lead Foley’s Shop ‘N Bag to a 6-2 win over Hamilton Dental in the HGSA Instructional League. Olivia Simonelli and Riley Mikolajczak followed up with big hits to seal the game. Hamilton Dental's Kamryn Wylie and Cara Mazzucco each went 2-for-2 with big hits.

April 16 HGSA Majors
First Bank rolls behind Cerasi and Doan
        Apr. 16: Defending playoff champion First Bank has picked up where it left off last season, jumping to a 3-0 record after its 10-1 win over Doctors Express. Nicole Cerasi collected three hits and four runs, and Rachel Doan knocked in four runs on three hits to spark the offense. Winning pitcher Natalie Kozemchak also had three hits and was backed by Cassidy Palyok, who earned a three-inning save.
       Gracie Gaskill drove in Jordyn Varone with Doctors Express' run.

Grace Gaskill fired four of the Hamilton 10U Blues 12 shutout innings as the Hurricanes won the Marlton Tournament this past weekend.
HGSA Travel Round-Up
12U Blue, 14Us wins tourneys; 10U Blue earns PONY bid

Apr. 12 HGSA Majors
Lestician’s gets balanced attack in victory
         April 12:
Ciara Donaldson, Ava Glahn, Caitlin Griggs and winning pitcher Haley Lestician collected two hits each to fuel Pete Lestician Auto Repair's 9-1 win over Doctors Express. Katie Temmer also pitched and Abby Sargent was a defensive standout as Lestician's evened its record to 1-1.
        The Doctors Express pitchers combined on their team's run with Jenna Mastropolo knocking in Gracie Gaskill.

Apr. 12 HGSA Instructional
Michalak, Salazano slug Foley’s to win over Green Lawn
    Apr. 12: Home runs by Rylee Michalak and Adriana Salzano helped Foley’s Shop ‘N Bag take a 3-2 win over Green Lawn Irrigation on opening day of the HGSA Instructional League. Grace Kohut helped preserve the win with a clutch catch at shortstop. Sophia Pintinalli pitched well for Green Lawn.

Apr. 11 HGSA Minors
LaFisca, Lederman nearly unhittable for Poor Boy
         Apr. 11
: Skyler LaFisca and Carley Lederman combined on a one-hitter with nine strikeouts as Poor Boy Subs took a 7-0 win over Investors Bank in HGSA Minor Division play. Lederman led the offense with three RBI, whil Mia Land, Grace Moozloom, Isabella Kaufman, and Kayla Cribbs each chipped in one. Mary Moticha hit a shot for a double as she, Land, Julie Burke, and Bella Bartlett all scored with LaFisca crossing the dish twice.
       Audrey Ihefeld had the hit for Investors Bank.

After the HGSA players paid their respect to Trenton Thunder Mascot Boomer before gathering around the microphone to sing the National Anthem during Saturday's Opening Day Ceremonies at the HGSA complex. Click here for four pages of photos from the event (Photos by Ken Weingartner).

Apr. 10 HGSA Seniors
Clevenger fans 15 as Rockwell tops Hamilton Mazda
        Apr. 10: Heather Clevenger struck out 15 seven innings as Rockwell Dentistry took a 6-0 win over Hamilton Mazda VW in HGSA Senior Division softball action. Savannah Bowen, Tori Bowen, Morgan Sisz and Taylor Hawkes all had hits for the winners.

The 10U Blue Hamilton Hurricanes proudly display their second-place trophies after Saturday’s HGSA's Trouble In The Bubble Tournament in Robbinsville. Team members include (front row, from left) Mia Land, Cierra Acevedo, Lizzie Kelly, Ayanna Stetzick, Skyler LaFisca, Avery Kontura; (back row) Becca Bocock, Johnna Filipponi, Kelsey Smith, Tina Fedor, Carley Lederman, Gianna Casale.Below, four team members celebrate playing their 100th career game at the tournament, including (front row, from left) Cierra Acevedo, Ayanna Stetzick; (back row) Gianna Casale and Kelsey Smith.

The Hamilton Hurricanes 12U Blue All-Stars celebrate their Trouble in the Bubble championship. The team members, front row, from left, Gracie Gaskill, Maddie Zeleznik, Alex Haley, Nicole Cerasi and Sophie DeFrank; second row, Natalie Kozemchak, Haley Lestician, Kaylee "The Salad Princess" Whittaker, Christina Weil, Ciara Donaldson and Gabbie Fonollosa; and back row, coach Pete Lestician, coach Milt "The Salad Patriarch" Whittaker, manager Joe Cerasi and coach Craig Haley. Missing from the photo is player Delaney Miser.
Travel Softball
Whittaker helps 12U Hurricanes earn the title of Trouble

The HGSA 14U Hurricanes got their season off to a troubling start as they display their trophies after winning the Trouble in the Bubble Championship in Robbinsville.
Travel Softball

HGSA 14Us claim Trouble in the Bubble championship


As a host of the PINK Tournament, HGSA ‘s Hamilton Hurricanes gave back to the community by volunteering to assemble gift bags for each of the 1100 girls who played in this past weeken’ds tournament. PINK is a youth fast-pitch charity softball tournament that raises funds for the Susan G Komen Central and South Jersey and the Princeton YWCA Breast Cancer Resource Center. A whopping 86 teams the tri-state area played on five different fields over the weekend and each Hurricane team held some sort of fundraiser.
Sep. 14-15 HGSA Playing for Pink 
10U Blues win a title as Cane teams play for good cause



The wins were better by the dozen for the Princeton Chevy softball players in the HGSA Instructional League. The Green Machine compiled a league-best 12-0 record this season. Many of the players collected some hardware at the annual HGSA postseason picnic. Pictured, from left, kneeling, is Ava Estrada, Olivia Simonelli, Cara Mazzucco and Kayla Delehenty; (back row) Jamison Misier, Christa Andrusiewicz, Cara McCann, Julia Mehl and Ceyonna Washington. Missing from the photo are Ayanna Stetzick, Emma Yorke, Riley Yorke and Holly Haduch.

Kagel's AC (above) and First Bank (below) are this year's HGSA Minor and Major division playoff champions after winning the title games Monday night.
June 17 HGSA Playoff Finals
Kagel's A/C wins Minors; First Bank rules Majors

The HGSA 14U Hurricanes (above) were all smiles with their hardware after winning the Eatontown Furyous Frenzy Tournament Father's Day, while the 10U Hurricanes (below) show off their trophies after winning the Edgewater Park Summer Sizzler Sunday. It was a banner weekend for the Hamilton travel teams, who won three titles.
June 16 HGSA Travel Softball
Three Hurricane teams win tournaments on Father's Day

HGSA Major Division
Lestician hits Brace Place into semifinals
         June 12: Haley Lestician hit a two-run triple and a two-run double and scored three times in Brace Place's 13-4 win over Hamilton PBA in the Major Division semifinals tonight. Ava Glahn and Natalie Mehl had three RBI each in support of winning pitcher Lauren Coiante.
         Brace Place (12-2-2) will play First Bank (12-4) in the championship game Monday night.
        Alicyn Blanchard, Deandre Adams, Emma Morin and Aleana Rivera scored runs for PBA (7-10).

Extreme Heat Challenge
Hamilton 8U Hurricanes win first tournament together

The 10U "Century Trio" of Johnna Filipponi, Lizzie Kelly and Becca Bocock signify that all three played their 100th game as Hamilton Hurricanes over the weekend.
Hamilton Hurricanes Softball
14Us rally for Jamboree title; 10Us second at West Jersey

June 8 HGSA Minors
Philburn fans 11 as Roma advances to playoff title game

         June 8: Roma Bank advanced to the HGSA Minor Division playoff finals with a 7-0 win over Simco today. Katie Philburn fired the shutout with 11 strikeouts, while Cassidy Palyok had a bases-loaded triple and played stellar defense at first base. Jessie Gutierrez, Jamie Hamilton, Shannon McCoy and Autumn Agliata all scored runs for the winners. Julia Hannawacker singled for Simco.

HGSA 14U squad qualifies for USSSA World Series

June 4 HGSA Majors
Lestician does it all as Brace Place wins 11th
June 4: Brace Place defeated Game Time Performance, 18-4, to clinch the HGSA Major Division's regular-season title Tuesday night. Winning pitcher Haley Lestician went 2-for-2 with a walk, three runs and two RBI, and Alex Haley, Ava Glahn, Rachel Doan and Jen Schulz added two RBI each. Lauren Coiante, Natalie Mehl, Jenna Colantoni, Caitlin Griggs, Courtney McLaughlin, Delanie Vanchoff and Venus Rodriguez also played key roles in Brace Place's 11-2-2 regular season.
        Rachel Buckley had an RBI single and walk for GTP.

June 2 Little Lads Minors
Moser, Brown, Barrios lift Princeton Nassau
        June 2: Princeton Nassau Pediatrics defeated Forconi Foods, 12-11, in Hamilton Little Lads Minor Division Softball. Erica Barrios went 2-for-2 with two hits to the deep outfield, Danielle Moser and Tyzanai Brown both went 3-for-3 and Marissa Skoglund made nice plays in the field.
        For Forconi, Jayda Johnson hit a ball into the outfield, Aubrey Cincilla had a fast glove in the infield and Sabree Fletcher and Ashley Kmiecik each went 2-for-2

June 1 Little Lads Majors

Bowlings and Jarusazewski's pace Hamilton Supply
       June 1:
Hamilton Supply defeated DeCou Fire Company, 9-7, in Hamilton Little Lads Major Division Girls Softball action. Alyssa Bowling was the winning pitcher, while the offense was led by Nicole Jaruszewski and Sara Jaruszewski (both 2-for-2) and Hayleigh Bowling (3-for-3, 3-run homer).
        Alley Stillitano hit a double and Kathleen Kerlin and Sophie Lewallen each went 2-for-2 for DeCou.

June 1 Little Lads Minors
Forconi Foods outslugs Princeton Nassau
          June 1: Forconi Foods defeated Princeton Nassau Pediatrics, 15-14, in an exciting Hamilton Little Lads Minor Division softball game. Larissa Cooper and Sarah Berenkopf both went 2-for-2 for Forconi. Samantha Moloughney made great plays in the field at first base and Aubrey Cincilla had a fast glove as well.
          For Princeton Nassau Pediatrics, Paris Parez and Jocelyn Saniago both went 2-for-2, Skylar Bowman and Kaitlyn Zuccarella both had hits to the outfield and Brielle Maigue made great plays at third base.

May 30-31 HGSA Instructional
Princeton Chevrolet storm to two straight victories
         May 31: Ayanna Stetzick five strikeouts and two from Julia Mehl helped Princeton Chevrolet to its 12th win of the season, 8-3, over Custom Impressionz. The offense was running on all cylinders, led by Riley Yorke (2 hits, 2 runs), Jamison Misier (2 doubles), Olivia Simonelli (double) and Ava Estrada (2 hits, run scored). Alexis Heineman and Cassidy Budge each had a hit and run scored for Custom Impressionz.
         A day earlier, Julia Mehl's three doubles, Cara Mazzucco double and triple and Ayanna Stetzick’s triple paced Princeton Chevy to an 8-4 win over Foley's Shop N Bag. Mehl fanned five in two innings and Stetzick struck out the side in her one inning.
        Isabella Bonacci and Riley Carr each had a double and run scored for Foley's.

May 30 HGSA Minors
Kagel’s keeps pace as Kontura and Fillipponi lead way
       May 30: Kagel's Air Conditioning remained in a first-place tie in the HGSA Minor Division by taking a 9-3 win over Roma. Avery Kontura and Johnna Fillipponi each had two hits to lead the charge. Bella Truelove and Caitlyn Scarbourgh also had key RBI hits. Fillipponi picked up the win and Lizzie Kelly made her pitching debut with two shutout innings for the save.
        Katie Philburn had a key hit for Roma.

May 30 HGSA Instructional
Mozloom has A JEM Of A Night at the plate
        May 30: Grace Mozloom powered JEM Trophies with a home run, double, three RBI and two runs scored as JEM Trophies edged Hamilton Dental, 13-12, in HGSA Instructional Division play. JEM had 18 hits, with 12 going for doubles. Bianca Pesce and Allyson Fonollosa had two doubles each while Isabella Conte, Braylie LaFisca and Fonollosa had two RBI each.
       Hamilton Dental was led by Kalia Castiglione with a single, double and two RBI, and Riley Mikolojczak had two hits and two RBI.

May 29 HGSA Majors
Brace Place’s latest victory is ten-fold
       May 29: There's no dissent from the Russian judge, it's obvious Brace Place gets a 10.
       The HGSA Major Division leader reached its 10th win with a 10-1 victory over Hamilton PBA tonight. Haley Lestician fired a three-hitter over five innings and struck out, well, 10 batters as Brace Place improved to 10-2-2.
        Natalie Mehl went 3-for-4 with two runs and three stolen bases, while Courtney McLaughlin (double) and Caitlyn Griggs had two hits each and Delanie Vanchoff had an RBI for Brace Place (10-2-2).
       For PBA, Ashley Veisz singled in Gracie Gaskill.

May 27 HGSA Instructional
JEM Trophies holds off Foley's Shop & Bag
          May 27: JEM Trophies held off a last-inning rally for Foley's Shop and Bag to win 11-10 in HGSA Instructional Division play. Madison Bendas, Grace Mozloom and Allyson Fonollsa combined for the pitching win. JEM's offense was led by Rose Mozloom with two RBI, while Gracyn Nutt, Autumn Felts, Braylie LaFisca, Gabriela Belardo, Isabella Conte, Madalena Creo, Fonollosa and Bendas each had an RBI.
         Isabella Bonnaci had two RBI and pitched well for Foley's.

May 25 HGSA Instructional
Yorke sisters and Mehl power Princeton Chevy to win
         May 25: Ayanna Stetzick (5 strikeouts) and Christa Andrusiewicz, making her first appearance in the circle, combined to pitch Princeton Chevy past Kusnirik Law Offices, 12-8. Sisters Emma and Riley Yorke powered the offense with two hits and run scored, along with Julia Mehl's three hits.
        Angelina Chianese and Madeline Kausch led Kusnirik with a hit and a run scored each.

May 22 HGSA Majors
Haley, Rodriguez all about small in Brace Place win
        May 22:  Small ball came up big for Brace Place as it beat DeFrank's Appliances & Kitchens, 7-3, and slipped back into first place in the HGSA Major Division.
        Brace Place (9-2-2) didn't have any extra-base hits, but Alex Haley collected a pair of two-out RBI singles and Venus Rodriguez scored twice with three walks. Winning pitcher Lauren “Sponge Bob’s Daughter” Coiante and Haley Lestician, who earned a save, pitched three innings each.
        Catching standout Alex Zaburski singled twice for DeFrank's.

May 21 Little Lads Majors
Stillitano hurls DeCou Fire past Hamilton Supply
         May 21: DeCou Fire Company defeated Hamilton Supply, 6-5 in Hamilton Little Lads Major Division Softball. Alley Stillitano was the winning pitcher and was backed by strong defense from Jacyln Chiacchio. The offense was led by Carina Cordero's nice hit and Heather Kerlin's 2-for-2 effort.
        For Hamilton Supply, Nicole Jaruszewski went 2-for-2. Sara Jaruszewski and Janie Reed made great plays and Deanna Young played a strong game at first base.

May 19 Little Lads Minors
Princeton Nassau Pediatrics and Forconi have slugfest
        May 19
: Princeton Nassau Pediatrics and Forconi Foods played to a 19-all tie in Hamilton Little Lads Minor Division Softball action. Erica Barrios was 4-for 4 for PNP, hitting four line drives to the outfield. Jocelyn Santiago was 3-for-4 and Paris Perez made outstanding plays at first base.
        For Forconi, Aubrey Cincilla had a fast glove at first base, Aliana Valdez-Williams and Sarah Berenkopf were each 4-for-4 and Briana Tumillo was 3-for-4.

May 19 Little Lads Majors
Hamilton Supply edges DeCou Fire Company
         May 19: Hamilton Supply slipped past DeCou Fire Company, 6-5, as Kayla Martinez singled home two runs, Hayleigh Bowling hit two doubles and Deanna Young and Anelysa Heredia both hit line drives to the outfield. Alyssa Bowling was the winning pitcher.
         For DeCou, Alley Stillitano played great defense on the mound and hit a shot to the outfield. Devan Onorati had a game-tying line drive and Heather Kerlin and Kathleen Kerlin each had solid hits and RBI.

The HGSA 12U Hurricane players and coaches show off their trophies after winning the Bordentown Bash Tournament on Saturday.
Travel Softball
Hamilton 12U 'Canes have a blast at Bordentown Bash

May 20 HGSA Majors
Brace Place and Hamilton Mazda just can’t decide winner
        May 20: It felt like the playoffs arrived early as Brace Place and Hamilton Mazda played to their second straight tie, this time 2-2, in HGSA Major Division play.
         Kaylee Whittaker was a one-girl wrecking crew for Hamilton Mazda (4-6-2), striking out 10 in going the distance while also going 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs and a stolen base. Danielle DeLisa and Caitlin Sharkey drove in Hamilton Mazda's runs.
       For Brace Place (8-2-2), Haley Lestician and Lauren Coiante both pitched three innings, while Alex Haley singled in Natalie Mehl and scored on Jenna Colantoni's sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth.

May 20 HGSA Minors
Poor Boy Subs Edges Simco as Misier provides big hit
          May 20: Poor Boys Sub's held off a late rally by Simco to take an 8-6 win in HGSA Minor Division play. Delaney Misier’s two-run double got Poor Boy off to a strong start. Jenna Mastropolo, Skyler LaFisca, Kylee Kennedy and Jenny Pribila all had an RBI and run scored, while catcher Emily Mozgai and Emma O'Brien chipped in with an RBI each. Pitchers Mastropolo and LaFisca combined for 11 strikeouts for the win.

        Simco was led by a monster triple by Kelsey Smith, two singles by Becca Bocock and the good pitching effort of Mia Land.

May 20 HGSA Instructional

JEM Trophies and Custom Impressionz play to tie
          May 20: JEM Trophies and Custom Impressionz tied at 4-4 in an HGSA Instructional game that hi tis time limit. For JEM, pitcher Madison Bendas had 5 strikeouts. Braylie LaFisca doubled and scored, while Allyson Fonollosa, Bianca Pesce and Rose Mozloom all had singles and drove in runs. Also getting hits were Bendas, Gabriela Belardo, Kylee Perez and Autumn Felts. Liliana Davila chipped in the other RBI.
         Custom Impression was led by pitcher Alexis Heineman (5 strikeouts), who helped her cause with a double and run scored. Simone Pintinalli and Kaidlee Piesiak both had a single and RBI while Nev Bridgers played a strong defense.

May 18 HGSA Minors
More contributors emerge in Kagel’s win over Roma
       May 18: Kagel’s Air Conditioning is usually led by their powerful top of the lineup consisting of Avery Kontura, Lizzie Kelly and Johnna Fillipponi and they did do their part in scoring five of Kagel’s runs in a 10-3 HGSA Minor Division victory over Roma Savings. But the exciting part for Kagel’s is the production starting to come from the rest of the lineup. Jayden Glazewski had two hits and was 4-for-4 for the week, Bella Truelove smacked a key double and Instructional league call up Julia Mehl got her first hit in the Minors. Fillipponi garnered the win with relief help from Mehl, who tossed two shutout innings in her Minor division debut.
         The win moved Kagel’s 5-2-2 back into a first place tie with Simco. Cassidy Paylok and Kayla Cuevas had hits for Roma.

May 17 HGSA Instructional
Princeton Chevy rolls to two straight victories
          May 17: Julia Mehl (5 strikeouts) and Ayanna Stetzick (3 strikeouts) shared the pitching duties as Princeton Chevy defeated Foley's Shop N Bag, 8-3, in HGSA Instructional play tonight. Stetzick (2 triples), Olivia Simonelli (2 hits), and Cara McCann (2 hits) led the offense for Princeton.
          Princeton Chevy's offense exploded for 20 hits one day earlier in a 14-4 win over Hamilton Dental. The hit parade was led by Holly Haduch, Cara Mazzucco, and Ceyonna Washington. Every player in Princeton's lineup scored at least one run, with Jamison Misier and Kayla Delehanty scoring twice. Ava Estrada made her second appearance in the circle for Princeton and pitched a strong first inning.

May 16 HGSA Minors
Simco rallies past Kagel's to take over first
       May 16: Simco Construction outdueled Kagel's, 6-5, to take the HGSA Minor Division lead. 
           Trailing 5-3, Simco scored three in the botton of the third and Mia Land closed it out with a scoreless fourth. Sophia Kloutis hit a three-run triple in the first. In the third, Kelsey Smith (hit, 2 runs) walked to start the rally, then Simco got three straight hits, including Hanna Babuschak's triple. Brynn Krauszer had a double in the second inning.
        For Kagel's, Tara Szczepanski and Jayden Glazewski both had hits and scored.

May 15 HGSA Majors
Mehl, Lestician power Brace Place past GTP
      May 15:
Natalie Mehl hit a two-run double and Haley Lestician added a two-run single to back winning pitcher Lauren “Sponge Bob’s Daughter” Coiante in Brace Place's 11-2 win over Game Time Performance. Rachel Doan and Caitlyn Griggs added three walks each as Brace Place improved to 8-2-1. Jess Pirozzi knocked in Kim Buckley and Julia Martine for GTP's runs.

May 14 HGSA Majors
Veisz’s bat helps her win her own game for Hamilton PBA
        May 14: Hamilton PBA won a back-and-forth affair against Brace Place, 6-5 - a tight HGSA Major Division game that featured three lead changes and two ties.
       Iliana Nyktas led the offense with three hits and an RBI. Melissa Klosinski drove in two runs with a single in the fourth inning. Ashley Veisz handled the bulk of the pitching, striking out five in four innings. Veisz helped her own cause at the plate, driving in Victoria Comfort for the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth.
         Haley Lestician struck out eight in four innings for Brace Place.. Caitlyn Griggs had two hits and a run scored, while Rachel Doan had three walks and a run for Brace.

May 10 HGSA Instructional
Stetzick and Mehl help Princeton Chevy cruise
         May 10: After being rained out Thursday night Princeton Chevy was revved up tonight, defeating Custom Impressionz 6-2, in HGSA Instructional play.
         The offense was firing on all cylinders as Christa Andrusiewicz, Jamison Misier, and Ava Estrada had two hits each. Ayanna Stetzick and Julia Mehl shared the pitching duties, striking out nine in four innings of work, also banging out two hits each.
       Alexis Heinaman led Custom Impressionz with a hit and an RBI. She also turned a nice unassisted double play.

May 5-6 HGSA Majors
First Bank takes wins over GTP and Brace Place
       May 6: First Bank took a 7-3 win over Game Time Performance by scoring seven runs in the final two innings tonight. Heather Clevenger led the offense two hits and three RBI and also notched the mound win. Bailey Pazdan added a double, while Olivia Owens, Natalie Kozemchake and Ciara Donaldson had singles.
      Julia Martine led the offense for GTP.
      A day earlier, First Bank handed Brace Place their first loss of the season, 16-8. The Bank scored four in the first inning and didn’t look back from there.
       Kozemchak led the way with three hits, Clevenger had two while Haley Schweitzer, Amy Vargas, Pazdan, Kyla Yesonosky, Jodryn Varrone, Dondaldson, Arlene Ricks, Owens and Nicole Cerasi all had a hit apiece.
       Brace Place was led by Jenna Colantini and Alex Haley

Hurricane 10U Whites finish second at Flemington Fling

May 7 HGSA Majors
McLaughlin keeping up with her cuz for Brace Place
       Courtney McLaughlin must have a family competition going on with her cousin and teammate, Rachel Doan, because she continued her recent hitting surge with a two-run single in Brace Place's 10-0 win over DeFrank's Appliances and Kitchens. Brace Place (7-1-1) also rebounded from its first loss behind winning pitcher Haley Lestician (3-for-3, three RBIs), Alex Haley (2-for-2, two RBIs), Ava Glahn (RBI double), Lauren "Sponge Bob's Daughter" Coiante (two runs) and Venus Rodriguez (hit, run).
       Megan McMahon and Caleigh Hough's collected DeFrank's two hits.

May 5 Little Lads Majors
Jaruszewski helps Hamilton Supply past DeCou
        May 5: Hamilton Supply slipped past DeCou Fire Company, 4-3m in a classic Hamilton Little Lads Major Division Softball game.  Winning Pitcher Alyssa Bowling was supported by Nicole Jaruszewski's two doubles and by Jillian Hauer turning a double play at first base.
        DeCou was led by Alley Stillitano, who went 2-for-2 and made great plays on the pitcher's mound,  and by Alexis Papa and Anthi Panagiotiois, who each went 2-for-2.

May 2 Little Lads Majors
Onorati’s big triple powers DeCou Fire Company
          May 2: DeCou Fire Company  defeated Hamilton Supply  5 to 4 in Hamilton Little Lads Major Division Softball, as Devon Onorati hit a bases-loaded triple to drive the offense while Justice Taylor had a fast glove on defense to support winning pitcher Heather Kerlin.
       For Hamilton Supply, Sara Jaruszewski was 2-for-2 and Jolynn Moloughney , Kayla Martinez  and Annastasia  Czikora each hit line drives to the outfield.

May 2-5 Little Lads Minors
Forconi Foods, Princeton Nassau battle it out twice

         May 5: Forconi Foods and Princeton Nassau Pediatrics battled to a 16-16 tie in Hamilton Little Lads Minor Division Softball today.  Forconi's Ashley Kmiecik was 3-for-3, Samantha Moloughney went 2-for-3 with a shot to the outfield and Aubrey Cincilla played a great defensive game at second base.
         For Princeton, Mia Tramo and Jocelyn Santiago went 3-for-3, Kaitlyn Zuccarello went 2-for- 2 and Erica Barrios hit two doubles.
          On May 2, the same to teams played to a 24-24 tie in Hamilton Little Lads Minor Division Softball.  For Princeton, Tyzanai Brown had a fast glove at first and third base while Marissa Skoglund and Paris Perez each went 3-for-3 at the plate.
          For Forconi, Sarah Berenkopf went 3-for-3 and Paige Wilson went 2-for-2 while Briana Tumillo and Ashley Kmiecik both hit line drives to the outfield.

May 3-4 HGSA Instructional
Princeton Chevy drives to a pair of victories
         May 4: Julia Mehl and Ayanna Stetzick combined on 11 strikeouts in four innings to pitch Princeton Chevy to a 7-4 win over Kusnirik Law Firm in HGSA Instructional play. Kayla Delehenty, Ceyonne Washington and Cara Mazzucco led Princeton’s 18-hit attack with two hits and one run each. Every girl in Princeton's lineup had at least one hit on the day. Emily Andrusiewcz (2 hits, run) and Naomi Blackburn (hit, run) led Kusnirik.
          On Friday, twin sisters Emma and Riley Yorke, along with Cara McCann, provided two hits apiece as Princeton Chevy defeated Jem Trophies, 9-2. Stetzick and Mehl combined for seven strikeouts in three shutout innings, while Ava Estrada making her pitching debut with a solid inning. Allyson Fonnalosi and Rose Mozloom each had hits and scored a run for Jems

May 4 HGSA Minors
Spatola, LaFisca lead Poor Boy over Roma
         May 4: Stella Spatola had two hits and three RBI as Poor Boy Subs took an 11-3 win over Roma Savings in an HGSA Minor Division contest. Gianna Casale and Jenna Mastropolo had two RBI each, while pitcher Skyler LaFisca threw a complete game with eight strikeouts. Giana Boulden singled and scored for Roma.

May 3 HGSA Minors
Simco and Kagels duke it out to no avail in tie game
           May 3: After five innings with four lead changes, Simco and Kagels fought to a tie in HGSA Minor Division action.
          Hanna Babuschak (2-for-2), and Julia Hannawacker had back to back doubles and Abby Simonelli had an RBI groundout to spark Simco's three-run fourth inning. The lead wouldn't hold as Kagels scored three in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game on Avery Kontura's hit.
         Johnna Filipponi and added a double, Lizzie Kelly had a triple, and Jayden Glazewski and Abby Elmer scored key runs for Kagels. Becca Bocock went 2-for-3 and struck out 10 in her four innings of work for Simco.

May 2 HGSA Minors
Simco has lots of contributors in win over Roma

         May 2: Simco defeated Roma Savings in HGSA Minor Division play, 19-6, tonight. Every batter on Simco scored, with Kendall Fiasco, Mary Moticha, Abby Simonelli, Mia Land, Becca Bocock and Kelsey Smith scoring multiple times. Bocock, Land and Fiasco handled the pitching for Simco. Fiasco, seeing her first action on the mound this year, struck out the last two batters to close out the game.
         Katie Philburn had a three-run triple for Roma.

May 1 HGSA Majors
Diszler does it for PBA with game-winning hit
         May 1: Emily Diszler drove in two runs, including the game-winner, to pace Hamilton PBA 66 to a 7-6 win over Game Time Performance in HGSA Major Division action. In a game that had an NBA-like eight lead changes, Iliana Nyktas had a triple, two singles and three RBI, while Grace Gaskill, Victoria Comfort and Ashley Veisz added two hits apiece. Nyktas struck out seven in three innings, Ashley Veisz notched the win and Grace Gaskill recorded the save.
      Julia Martine led Game Time Performance with a single, double and triple, while Jess Hallam and Kim Buckley added two hits each.

May 2 HGSA Minors
Fillipponi flips the winning switch for Kagel’s
         May 2: Kagel's A/C defeated Poor Boys Subs, 14-4, in an HGSA Minor Division game behind the pitching and hitting of Johnna Fillipponi, who went 2-for-2 with a base-clearing triple. Tara Szczepanski was also 2-for-2 and Bella Truelove got her first hit of the season for Kagel's. Poor Boys’ Stella Spatola and Gianna Casale each had a hit.

HGSA Majors
First Bank takes wins over DeFranks and PBA
        First Bank scored five runs in the final two innings than stranded the tying runs on base to pull out a 5-3 win over DeFranks in HGSA Major Division play. Heather Clevenger and Natalie Kozemchak handled the pitching and helped themselves at the plate as well. Olivia Owens had two hits and Haley Schweitzer had a key RBI for First Bank. DeFranks was led by two hits each from Meghan McMahon, Megan Brugnoli and Rachel Pierce, while Angelina Perez and Cora Bridgers combined for a double play.
        In a previous game, First Bank took an 8-0 lead and held on for an 11-7 win over Hamilton PBA. Clevenger had two hits and pitched two scoreless innings. Ciara Donaldson and Arlene Ricks also had two hits apiece for First Bank. Victoria Comfort and Iliana Nyktas led the offense for PBA with two hits each.

Apr. 30 HGSA Major Division
Brace Place and Hamilton Mazda can’t decide winner
          Apr. 29: Brace Place and Hamilton Mazda played seven innings and into an international tie-breaker before remaining deadlocked, 4-4. For Brace Place (6-0-1), Alex Haley hit a two-run home run and Jenna Colantoni drove in two runs to back pitchers Haley Lestician (11 strikeouts in six innings) and Lauren “Sponge Bob’s Daughter” Coiante. Kaylee Whittaker went all seven innings for Hamilton Mazda (1-5-1) and struck out 14 batters, while Amira Abed scored twice.

Apr. 27-28 Medford Spring Slam
12U Hurricanes take second after reaching finals

Apr. 29 HGSA Instructional
JEM Trophies wins behind 17-hit attack
         Apr. 29: JEM Trophies slugged 17 hits in a 9-4 win over Custom Impressionz in HGSA Instructional Division play. Braylie LaFisca and Autumn Felts led JEM with two RBI each, while Bianca Pesce, Allyson Fonollosa, Rose Mozloom, Madalena Creo, Grace Mozloom, Liliana Davila and Felts had two hits each.
        Nev Bridgers and Sophia Pintinalli played well for Custom Impressionz.

Apr. 26 HGSA Minors
Weitz has strikeout pitch working for Roma
         Apr. 26: Melissa Weitz struck out 12 batters in four innings to pitch Roma Savings over Poor Boy Subs in an HGSA Minor Division game.
          Katie Philburn pitched the fifth and scored two runs, while Shannon McCoy singled and Cassidy Palyok scored for Roma. Poor Boy's Skyler LaFisca and Jenna Mastrolpolo combined for 11 strikeouts and Megan Krenciki doubled and scored.

Apr. 28 Little Lads Minors
Princeton Nassau and Forconi play to slugfest deadlock
       Apr. 28: Princeton Nassau Pediatrics and Forconi Foods battled to a 28-28 tie in a Hamilton Little Lads Softball Minor Division game. Isabella Bartlett played a great third base and was 4-for-4 for Princeton. Skylar Bowman had a fast glove at short stop and went 4-for-4, while Brielle Maigue hit two line drives to the outfield and was fast on the bases.
          For Forconi, Aubrey Cincilla went 4-for- 4 with four RBI while Sabree Fletcher hit a line drive down the third base line, and two line drives into the outfield. Larissa Cooper went 4-for-4 and was sterling on defense.

Apr. 27 HGSA Minors
Kelly stays red hot as Kagel’s A/C tops Roma
       Apr. 27: Kagel's A/C defeated Roma Savings, 8-6, in HGSA Minor Division play today as Johnna Fillipponi was 2-for-2 and Lizzie Kelly reached base for the 11th straight at-bat to start the season. Emily Vargas and Caitlyn Scarborough got their first hits of the season as Kagel's improved to 2-1-1.
        Cassidy Palyok doubled and played well for Roma.

Krauszer and Land double Simco’s pleasure
        Apr. 27: Simco Construction stayed hot in HGSA Minor Division play with an 11-5 win over Poor Boys today. Brynn Krauszer had her first hit of the year, a two-run double, two-run run double, while Mia Land added a double to spark a nine-hit attack.
          Kelsey Smith, Becca Bocock Hanna Babuschak and Julia Hannawacker added hits, while Bocock struck out nine in her three scoreless innings to pick up the win.
         Stella Spatola and Gianna Casale reached base three times each for Poor Boys.

Apr. 25-26 HGSA Instructional
Stetzick, Mehl have shutout pitches working for Chevy
          Apr. 26: Ayanna Stetzick and Julia Mehl combined to blank Foley’s Shop ‘N Bag, 4-0, in HGSA Instructional play today. The two combined for 11 strikeouts, while Christa Andrusiewic and Kayla Delehantly provided the offense.
         A day earlier, Olivia Simonelli, Ava Estrada and Cara Mazzucco each had two hits as Princeton Chevy defeated Hamilton Dental, 7-0. Mehl and Stetzick again combined on the shutout. Hope Lestician and Kyra Cribbs both had hits for Hamilton Dental.

Apr. 26 HGSA Minors
Kloutis and Southard triple team Kagel’s
        Apr. 26: Sophia Kloutis and Mia Southard had triples to help Simco to a 6-5, come-from-behind win over Kagel’s in an HGSA Minor Division game. Becca Bocock and Mia Land handled the pitching for Simco, with Land picking her first win.
         Lizzie Kelly went 2-for-2 and Kiki McCarthy reached safely in each at-bat for Kagels. Johnna Filipponi worked hard in the loss, striking out nine.

Apr. 25 Little Lads Majors
Hauer plays big part in Hamilton Supply win
         Apr. 25: Hamilton Supply slipped past DeCou Fire Company 3-2 in their Hamilton Little Lads Softball Major Division matchup. Jillian Hauer turned a double play and scored the winning run when Alyssa Bowling smashed a line drive down the third base line to knock her in. Morgan Moser pitched solidly for the win.
        DeCou's Devon Onorati had a hit and RBI and scored the game-tying run in the last inning. Jacyln Chiacchio also contributed a double to DeCou's cause.

HGSA Major Division
Coiante scores more than she lets up for Brace Place
        Apr. 24:
Winning pitcher Lauren “Sponge Bob’s Daughter” Coiante allowed just two runs over five innings and scored three runs over her own as Brace Place took a 9-6 win over Hamilton PBA in HGSA Major Division play tonight.
        Haley Lestician had two RBI, while Caitlin Griggs, Alex Haley, Jen Schulz and Jenna Colantoni each drove in a run in the win. Gracie Gaskill belted a two-run triple, while Aleana Rivera had two hits and a run for PBA.

Apr. 23 HGSA Majors
Lestician, Mehl, Haley pace Brace Place to win
          Apr. 23:
Winning pitcher Haley Lestician worked five strong innings, Natalie Mehl went 3-for-3 with two runs and Alex Haley doubled in two runs to lead Brace Place (5-0) past First Bank, 3-2, in HGSA Major Division softball. Olivia Owens had an RBI double and Jordyn Varone collected a triple and run for Brace Place.

Eight-year-old Ayanna Stetzick displays the helmet bearing the No. 8 that the Hamilton Hurricanes 10U White softball team wore at the Carteret Kraze Tournament this past weekend. Playing up on the 10s, Stetzick felt sadness for the 8-year-old boy Martin Richard -- who was her age -- who perished in the Boston Marathon bombing and suggested the team put his age on their helmets, which the Hurricanes did in his honor. Below, the entire team shows off the helmets including (from left) Katie Philburn, Kelsey Smith, Emily Mozgai, Gianna Casale, Kirsten McCarthy, Jenna Mastropolo, Cierra Acevedo, Skyler LaFisca, Ayanna Stetzick, Stella Spatola, and Jayden Glazewski (not pictured is Melissa Weitz).
Travel Softball
10U HGSA Blue team shows plenty of depth in Carteret

Apr. 21 Little Lads Major
Moser and Czikora help the Hamilton Supply cause
          Apr. 21: Hamilton Supply defeated DeCou Fire Company 5-1 in a Hamilton Little Lads Softball Major Division game. Alyssa Bowling was the winning pitcher and was supported by Hayleigh Bowling's two doubles and four RBI's, Morgan Moser's and Annastasia Czikora's big hits and Janie Reed's bat and speed on the bases helped the cause.
         Heather Kerlin and Devon Onorati each went 2-for-2 for DeCou, while Amy Paragone and Emma Clugsten also chipped in with hits.

Little Lads Minors
Princeton Nassau and Forconi battle it out
          Apr. 21: Princeton Nassau Pediatrics and Forconi Foods battled to a 24-24 tie in a Hamilton Little Lads Softball Minor Division offensive show. Erica Barrios went 3-for-3 and played a great game at shortstop for Princeton Nassau Pediatrics, joining Erin Erdie (3-for-3) and Telihya Marquez (3-for-3) and made great plays at first base.
         Forconi's efforts were led by Ashley Kmiecik (3-for-3), who played great in the infield, Gabrelle Fletcher (2-for-2), Jayda Johnson (3-for-3) and Briana Tumill,o who had a strong defensive day and a big hit.

Little Ladies Travel
Bowling, Hauer, Onorati pace Hamilton
           Apr. 20: The Hamilton Little Ladies defeated Allentown 20-8 in a travel softball matchup. Winning pitcher Hayleigh Bowling joined Jillian Hauer and Devon Onorati in going 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the offense.

Apr. 20 Little Lads Majors
Bowling & Bowling double trouble for Supply
          Apr. 20: Hamilton Supply defeated DeCou Fire Company, 5-2, in today's Hamilton Little Lads Softball Major Division game. Alyssa Bowling and Hayleigh Bowling each hit a double and got an RBI to lead the Hamilton Supply offense, while Jillian Hauer turned a great double play to get Hamilton Supply out of first inning trouble. Deanna Young and Marissa Mayoros pitched well to notch the victory.
        For DeCou, Cardarwina Detournelle belted a line drive to center field to collect an RBI and had a quick glove on the pitcher's mound. Amy Paragone had a great hit and was quick on the bases.

Apr. 20 Little Lads Minors
Princeton Nassau and Forconi play tight battle
         Apr. 20: Princeton Nassau Pediatrics and Forconi Foods battled to a 19-19 tie in an exciting Hamilton Little Lads Softball Minor Division game. Kaitlyn Zuccarello went 3-for-3 and Jocelyn Santiago went 2-for-2 with an RBI for Princeton Nassau. Saniyah Spell went 2-for-2 and showed off her speed on the bases while Aliana Valdez-Williams went 3-for-3 with two RBI for Forconi.

Apr. 19-20 HGSA Instructional
Stetzick, Mehl pitch Princeton Chevy to two wins
           Ayanna Stetzick (5 strikeouts) and Julia Mehl (4 Ks) combined on the shutout as Princeton Chevy defeated Custom Impressionz, 7-0, in HGSA Instructional League play on Friday. Jamison Misier, Riley Yorke and Cara McCann provided the offense with two hits each for Princeton Chevy.
          On Saturday, Mehl and Stetzick again shared the pitching duties, striking out five each and helping their own cause with a double and two runs each as Princeton Chevy defeated Kushnirik Law Offices, 11-1. Ceyonne Washington had two hits and two runs scored, while Holly Haduch (2 hits) and Emma Yorke (2 hits, 1 run) also sparked the offense for Princeton Chevy. Madeline Kausch led Kushnirik with a double and a run scored.

Little Lads Majors
Hamilton Supply paced by Hauer and Bowling
       Apr. 19: Hamilton Supply defeated DeCou Fire Company, 4-1, in a close Hamilton Little Lads Softball Major Division game. Jillian Hauer went 2-for-2 with a triple and Alyssa Bowling contributed a double to the Hamilton Supply offensive attack. Winning pitcher Hayleigh Bowling was a cat on the mound.
        Powering DeCou were Alley Stillitano, who hit a line drive deep to left field for a hit, and Alexis Papa, who hit a shot into the outfield for a hit and an RBI.

Apr. 19 HGSA Minors
Kagel’s and Roma battle it out to a deadlock
        Apr. 19: Kagel's A/C and Roma Savings played to a 7-7 tie .Lizzie Kelly had the only hit for Kagel's, but it was a big one -- a bases loaded double. Kelly has started the season 4-for- 4 with three doubles. Tara Szcepanski struck out the last batter with the bases loaded to preserve the tie.
         For Roma Nicole Pappas made a great catch in right field and gunned down a runner for a double play. Cassidy Palyok pitched well for Roma.

HGSA Instructional
Mozloom And Fonollosa Toss Combined Shutout

         Apr. 18: Grace Mozloom and Allyson Fonollosa tossed a shutout for JEM Trophies in a 1-0 victory over Hamilton Dental in HGSA Instructional play. Autumn Feltz and Bianca Pesce started the final frame of the last inning with back to back singles before Rose Mozloom singled and drove in Feltz for the games only run.

Apr. 16 Little Lads Majors
Jaruszewski, Adigun power Hamilton Supply
         Apr. 16: Hamilton Supply defeated DeCou Fire Company, 9 -6, in a Hamilton Little Lads Major Division Softball game. Alyssa Bowling was the winning pitcher, supported by strong offensive games by Nicole Jaruszewski (2-for-2) and Dami Adigun (2-for-2, 2 RBI).
        Kathleen Kerlin and Jacyln Chiacchio both went 2-for-2 to bolster DeCou's offense.

Apr. 17 HGSA Majors
Colantoni does it with bat and glove for Brace Place
          Apr. 17:
Jenna Colantoni went 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI, and was a defensive standout at shortstop, as Brace Place defeated DeFrank's Appliances & Kitchens, 9-0. Winning pitcher Haley Lestician and Natalie Mehl had two hits and two runs each, while Courtney McLaughlin scored a run and started a double play from right field. Rachel Pierce had a hit and a walk for DeFrank's.

Apr. 16 HGSA Majors
Hamilton PBA 66 outslugs Hamilton Mazda VW
           Apr. 16: Hamilton PBA 66 evened its record at 2-2 in the HGSA Major Division with a 12-6 victory over Hamilton Mazda VW.
           Alicyn Blanchard led the charge with two hits and four RBI, Iliana Nyktas added a three-run double and Victoria Comfort chipped in with a hit and RBI. Ashley Veisz and Nyktas shared the circle for Hamilton PBA 66.
         Kaylee Whitaker, and Blake Krauser had two hits apiece for Hamilton Mazda VW.

Apr. 16: HGSA Minors
Mastropolo, LaFisca lift Poor Boys past Roma
            Apr. 16: Jenna "Terminator" Mastropolo and Skyler LaFisca combined for eight strikeouts as Poor Boy Sub's defeated Roma Savings, 9-4, in HGSA Minor Division play. Ayanna Stetzick had a single, two RBI, and a run scored, while Emily Mozgai scored two runs.
          For Roma, Katie "Just Call Me Katie" Philburn went 2-for-2 with Cassidy Polak and Nicole Pappas chipping in singles.

HGSA Majors
First Bank deposits a pair of victories
            First Bank notched its first win of the year with a 6-2 win over Hamilton PBA, as Arlene Ricks had a double, triple and 4 RBIs. Also adding extra base hits were Olivia Owens, Bailey Pazdan and Kyla Yesonovsky. Heather Clevenger and Natalie Kozemchak combined for the win. Victoria Comfort and Ashley Veisz led the offense for Hamilton PBA
          First Bank made it two straight by scoring four in the fourth and three in the fifth for an 8-4 victory over Defranks. Ciara Donaldson, Olivia Owens, Ricks, Clevenger, Jordyn Varrone, Kozemchak, Yesonovsky and Olivia Buote all had hits to lead the balanced offense.

The Pitch, Hit & Run winners from HGSA pose with their trophies and coaches Pete Lestician and Bob Bocock after Saturday's competition. Winners missing from the photo are Simone Pintinalli, Gianna Dimeglio, Kayla Cuevas and Morgan Comfort.
Weekend HGSA Softball
Hurricane players show skills in Pitch, Hit & Run event
14Us average 10 runs per game in winning at Carteret

HGSA Minors
Kelly and Kontura power Kagel’s Air Conditioning
          Kagel's Air Conditioning and Heating took an 8-4 win over Simco Construction in HGSA Minor Division play as Lizzy Kelly went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Avery Kontura added two hits while Johnna Fillipponi and Tara Szczepanski combined to pitch a two-hitter.

Apr. 15 HGSA Majors
Doan’s defense helps Brace Place roll
          Apr. 15: Rachel Doan did her best Ozzie Smith impression in Brace Place's 10-1 HGSA Majors win over Hamilton Mazda. Doan was involved in six putouts and assists, including throwing out a runner at first base from right field.
          Offensively, Jenna Colantini was 2-for-2 with a triple, two runs and a walk, while Lauren Coiante and Haley Lestician knocked in two runs each, and Jen Schulz and Courtney McLaughlin both scored a run. Kaylee Whittaker singled and scored Hamilton Mazda's only run.

Apr. 14 Little Lads Minors
Forconi Foods and Princeton Nassau Pediatrics tie
           Apr. 14: Forconi Foods and Princeton Nassau Pediatrics battled to a tie today in Hamilton Little Lads Girls Softball (Minor Division) today, finishing with a score of 23-23.
           The fast glove of pitcher Maya Morales and the awesome defense of Samantha Moloughney at first base were impressive for Forconi Foods. Alexa Fillmore contributed three nice hits to Forconi's attack.
        For Princeton, Brielle Maigue went 2-for-2, while Danielle Moser hit a shot over the outfielders heads. Marissa Skoglund had played great defense at third base.

Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede encourages the members of the Hamilton Girls Softball Association to play ball during Saturday's opening day ceremonies at the HGSA complex; and the league's players and coaches (below) couldn't agree more with the Honorable One (Photos by Ken Weingartner).
Click to see HGSA Opening Day Cermonies in pictures

Apr. 10 HGSA Major Division
Haley's comet is soaring as Brace Place wins again
         Apr. 10: Haley Lestician continued her fast start to the season, belting a two-run home run in the first inning to spark Brace Place to a 10-0 win over Game Time Performance. She struck out six and scattered three hits with one walk over four innings.
         Jenna Colantini (2-for-3, triple, three RBIs, two runs) and Alex Haley (2-for-3, triple, two RBIs, run) were other hitting standouts for Brace Place (2-0), while Kim Buckley had a double for GTP.

HGSA Major Division
Brace Place uses huge rally to overcome Hamilton PBA
         Brace Place rallied to a 9-7, season-opening win over Hamilton PBA by scoring the game's final seven runs. Haley Lestician went 3-for-3 with two runs and collected a save for winning pitcher Natalie Mehl, who had two hits and a run, while Rachel Doan knocked in two runs. Iliana Nyktas and Ashley Veisz were offensive standouts for PBA.

The HGSA 14U Blue Hurricanes show off their trophies after winning the 16U Backbreaker Tournament this past weekend. 
HGSA Backbreaker Softball
14U Blues play up and win title; 10U Whites finish 3-1

The Hamilton 12U Hurricanes wear smiles and hold trophies after winning the HGSA Backbreaker Tournament over the weekend in dominating fashion.
HGSA Backbreaker Softball Tournament
Hamilton 12U and 10U Blue 'Canes win championships

Displaying their runner-up trophies at the eight-team HGSA Storm Surge Tournament are Hamilton Hurricanes 10U Blue All-Stars, front row, from left, Johnna Filipponi, Becca Bocock, Lizzie Kelly, Avery Kontura, Mia Land and Gracie Gaskill, and, top row, Ciara Donaldson, Natalie Kozemchak, Bella Truelove, Haley Lestician, Alex Haley and Gabbie Fonollosa.
HGSA Hurricanes Softball
10U Blues second at Storm Surge, 12U team goes 2-1

HGSA Minors Playoffs
First rallies past Roma in a battle of the Banks
           In game that accrued a lot of interest, First Bank rallied from an early deficit to take a 6-3 victory over Roma Bank in an HGSA Minor Division playoff game.
          Roma jumped to a 3-0 victory in the first inning before First Bank mounted its comeback. Nicole Russo went 2-for-3 with three RBI and also pitched five strong innings for the win, while Nicole Cerasi went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Natalie Mehl tossed the sixth for the save.
       Kelsey Whalen had two hits and two RBI for Roma.

HGSA Minors Playoffs
‘Kim Possible’ does the impossible for DiMaggio’s
             Just call her Kim Possible.
             Because when it comes to Kim Buckley, nothing is impossible.
             For the second straight game, Buckley delivered a pivotal two-run hit with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the first inning. This time it was a double to help power DiMaggio's Auto Service to a 3-1 quarterfinal-round win over Hamilton Dental Associates in HGSA Minor Division play.
           Chloe Lewis knew what to do with the support, firing a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts. Cassidy Wood, Haley Lestician and Lewis scored for DiMaggio's, while Meaghan McTamney had the lone hit and run for HDA.

HGSA Minors
Poor Boy clinches first place with win over Massimo’s
           Poor Boy Subs defeated Massimo’s, 2-1, to clinch first place in a battle of the top two teams in HGSA Minor Division play.
            Poor Boy pitcher Alexis Pope went the distance, striking out 12. She also had a hit and RBI to score Dana Demeo. Madison Balke drove in Courtney Danser for the other run, and Melissa Klosinski added a hit.
          Massimo’s had an Alexis of their own dominating in the circle. Alexis Davidson had eight strikeouts and did not allow a run in three innings. Ashley Veisz had the lone hit for Massimo’s.

HGSA Minors
DiMaggio’s gets by First Bank to clinch third place
         DiMaggio's Auto Service shifted into playoff-mode a week early with an 8-0 shutout of First Bank, clinching third place in the nine-team division. Kim Buckley's two-out, two-run single in the top of the first inning jump-started the winners and Lauren Coiante took it from there by pitching a six-inning shutout.
      Buckley was 3-for-3 with two runs and three RBI, Chloe Lewis collected three singles, a walk, three runs and an RBI, and Ashley Kinczel had a hit and a run. Nicole Russo went 2-for-2 for First Bank (6-8), which would have clinched third place with a win.

HGSA Minors
Soden and Hallam provide the offense for Roma Bank
           Madison Soden knocked in three runs and Kelsie Whalen knocked in two in support of Jessica Hallam's pitching as Roma Bank squeaked out an 8-7 win over Hamilton Dental in the HGSA Minor Division. Emma Crane and Victoria Savelli each made great defensive plays to strand the tying run at third base in the last inning.
HGSA Minors
Hawkins helps DeFrank’s gets past Colgate

DeFrank’s Appliances and Kitchens defeated Colgate Palmolive, 6-2, in HGSA Minor Division play. Talia Hawkins had a triple and two RBI, while Samantha Lee had a double and Iliana Nyktas had a key RBI hit. Hawkins and Clevenger handled the pitching chores.

Travel Softball
Hurricane 10U Blue, 8Us take second at Backbreaker

HGSA Minors
Pope and Comfort carry Poor Boy to riches
        If a pope can provide comfort, what can a Pope and Comfort provide together?
         How about a win.
         Alexis Pope reached base three times, scored a run and had two RBI while Morgan Comfort allowed two hits and one walk while fanning eight in five innings to lead Poor Boy Subs to a 9-2 win over DiMaggio’s Auto Service in HGSA Minor Division action. Madison Balke added a hit and two RBI, while and Dana Demeo drove in a run.
           DiMaggio’s Auto Service Chloe Lewis started in defeat, striking out 12 in six innings and delivering two hits and two RBI.

HGSA Minors
Fast start propels DiMaggio’s to victory over Colgate
    There's no better place to break out of an offensive slump than the top of the first inning.
     That's when DiMaggio's Auto Service plated its first six batters en route to a 9-6 win over Colgate Palmolive in HGSA Minor Division play. Chloe Lewis led the surge with three hits, two runs and an RBI, and Cassidy Wood, Kim Buckley, Ava Glahn and winning pitcher Haley Lestician added two RBIs each. DiMaggio's, which had scored only two runs in its prior two games, improved to 6-3.
    For Colgate Palmolive, Vanessa Rodriguez scored two runs and Sabrina Heineman had a double and a run.

HGSA Minors
Balke, Danser give Poor Boy 12 reasons to celebrate
       It took 12 to make a dozen for Poor Boy.
       The Sub girls scored 12 runs to reach 12 wins as Poor Boy took a 12-1 victory over DiMaggio’s Auto Service in HGSA Minor Division play. Madison Balke and Courtney Danser each clubbed two-run doubles, while Jordyn Varone added two walks and two runs scored. Morgan Comfort and Alexis Pope combined for eight strikeouts in five innings in the circle.
      Kim Buckley singled home Haley Lestician for DiMaggio’s.

May 19-20 Travel Softball
Hurricane 12U Blues slug their way to Vineland title

HGSA Instructional
Nottingham Insurance gets strong efforts in setbacks

            Nottingham Insurance dropped games to Foley’s Shop ‘N Bag (9-4) and Brace Place (9-3) in HGSA Instructional play, but got some strong efforts in defeat. Against Foley’s, Keira McGuiness had a hit and run scored while Ciera Acevedo was 2-for-2 with two runs. Against Brace Place, Melissa Weitz went 3-for-3 with an RBI while Nicole Rende doubled and Katie Philburn struck out two in one inning pitched.

May 20 HGSA 10U Hurricanes
Lestician gives herself a 28-strikeout birthday present

HGSA Instructional
Sister Power! Fiascos and Martzes power PBA 66
          It was all about the sisters as PBA 66 took a 6-5 win over Simco Construction in HGSA Instructional League play. Kendall Fiasco and Lexi Fiasco had two hits apiece for PBA, as did Emily Martz and Heidi Martz. T-baller Ayanna Stetzick, playing up a division, had a key strikeout in the final inning to preserve the victory and earn the save in the circle. Johnna Filipponi led Simco with a double and triple.
HGSA Minors

Roma roams to another win behind Bridgers

  Roma defeated Colgate, 10-1, in HGSA Minor Division play behind the complete-game pitching of Cora Bridgers. The Bankers were led by Cecilia Chianese, Christina Weil, Madison Soden and Megan Brugnoli who all had multiple RBI. Niki Harrill was stellar at first base for Roma.
May 11-12 HGSA Instructional
Nottingham insurance wins one, ties one
         May 12: Nottingham Insurance came back from a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the fourth to tie Sir Speedy, 6-6, in HGSA Instructional play today. Nicole Rende brought in the tying runs, while Melissa Weitz went 3-for-3 with two strikeouts.       
          Nottingham Insurance took a 7-2 win over Hamilton PBA, 7-2, Friday, as Nicole Pappas had her strikeout arm working and tripled with three RBI. Bella Pesce also tripled with two RBI.

May 8 HGSA Minors
Angelini triples her pleasure as Poor Boy Subs rolls
   May 8: Poor Boy Subs eked out a 3-2 victory over Joe’s Hamilton Transmission to improve its record to 7-2 in HGSA Minor Division action. Jessica Angelini drove in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning with a triple.
            Morgan Comfort went 2-for-2 with a double, RBI and a run scored while striking out seven in three innings. Alexis Pope got the win by striking out six.
            Joe’s Hamilton Transmission was led by Tori Bowen who scored both runs on RBI singles by Grace Cooke, and Alyssa Bowling.

May 7 HGSA Minors
Coiante, Wood and a couple of Haleys pace DiMaggio’s

      May 7: After Lauren “Sponge Bob’s Daughter” Coiante kept opposing hitters off-balance with 12 strikeouts through five innings, DiMaggio's Auto Service recorded outs at first, second and third base in the bottom of the sixth to hold off Joe's Hamilton Transmission, 6-5, in an HGSA Minor Division contest tonight. Cassidy Wood collected two hits, two RBI and a run, while Alex Haley had two hits and two runs.
    Haley Lestician scored twice, including tagging up on an infield fly out in the top of the sixth to score what turned out to be the sixth and decisive run.

May 5-6 HGSA Blue

Coiante, Gaskell, Haley aid 10U Hurricanes in Jackson

HGSA Minors
Angelini has the hot hand as Poor Boy tops Dental

    Apr. 30: Poor Boy Subs refused to relinquish the lead after grabbing it early against Hamilton Dental, recording a 10-1 victory in HGSA Minor Division action.
    A two-run double by Melissa Klosinski and a two-run single by Jessica Angelini during the first inning supplied the early offense for Poor Boy (5-2), which took a 9-0 lead after three innings. Angelini had three hits and four RBI for Poor Boy.
    Morgan Comfort made the runs stand up as she allowed just one
hit, no walks and no earned runs while striking out nine in three innings. Closer Alexis Pope retired the final six batters to record the save. Pope also had a two-run triple that scored Dana Demeo and Courtney Danser.

Nicole Pappas (left) and Autumn Agliata get ready to play some defense for Nottingham Insurance during an HGSA Instructional Division game this past weekend.
HGSA Instructional

Nottingham Insurance wins one and ties one
        Apr. 27-28:
Nottingham Insurance took a 10-2 win over Simco in HGSA Instructional League action Friday, then played Brace Place to a 3-3 tie on Saturday.
       Against Simco, Autumn Agliate was 2-for-2 with an RBI, Bella Pesce went 2-for-2 Cierra Acevedo was 3-for-3. Against Brace Place, Nicole Rende had a two-run double, Katie Philburn was 2-for-3 with a triple and Nicole Pappas had an RBI double.

Apr. 25 HGSA Minors

Wood hits good for DiMaggio in win over Colgate
 Apr. 25: DiMaggio's Auto Service used small ball to polish off Colgate Palmolive, 5-3, and improve its record to 4-1 in the HGSA Minor Division.
    Cassidy Wood provided a two-run double for DiMaggio's only hit in the two innings in which it scored its five runs. Kim Buckley, Rachel Buckley and Ashley Kinczel also drove in runs to back pitchers Lauren Coiante and Haley Lestician, the winner in relief.
    Hailey Kostin went 2-for-2 with an RBI triple and run for Colgate Palmolive.

Apr. 24 HGSA Minors
Adams slugs Poor Boy past Massimo’s in wild affair

    Apr. 26: With its head coach grieving over a cracked car windshield suffered at Wednesday’s Steinert-Nottingham game, Poor Boy Subs made him smile by taking a 7-5 win over Massimo’s tonight.  
    Pitcher Alexis Pope scattered seven hits and struck out seven to get the win in a see saw battle. Poor Boy took the lead for good in the third when Pope hit a two-run triple and Jessica Angelini and Madison Balke added RBI singles.  Deandra Adams had double, triple and three RBI for Poor Boy an Megan Comfort had an RBI.
    Alexis Davidson had an RBI single and RBI double for Massimo’s, while Serena Campanella had a key hit.

Apr. 24 HGSA Minors
Poor Boy feeling mighty Comfort-able after win

           Apr. 24: Poor Boy Subs can take Comfort in the fact they are Rich Girl softball players.
            Morgan Comfort was all over the stat sheet in helping Poor Boy to a 5-4 win over Joe’s Hamilton Transmission in HGSA Minor Division softball tonight. Comfort allowed two hits and struck out 11 in 5-2/3 innings in the circle, and had three hits and two RBI at the plate.
            Poor Boy took a 3-0 lead in the second when Deandra Adams singled and eventually scored on a single by Victoria Comfort. Jordyn Varone’s bases loaded walk and Morgan Comfort’s single tacked on insurance runs. Karissa Edwards’ fielder’s choice scored Courtney Danser with a third-inning run.
            Joe’s Hamilton Transmission rallied for four in the third on bases loaded walks ty Kala Malrine and Jennifer Schalz and a two-run single by Alyssa Bowling. Morgan Comfort won her own game with an RBI hit.

Apr. 22 Travel Softball
HGSA 10U Blues cause a Hurricane Kraze in Carteret 

HGSA Instructional

Nottingham gets nice efforts in loss to Sir Speedy
            Apr. 21: Sir Speedy took a 6-3 win over Nottingham Insurance in HGSA Instructional action, but the Insurance girls had some strong efforts as Bella Pesce went 2-for-2 with an RBI double and run scored.  Cierra Acevedo went 2-for-2, scored a run and pitched well, while Keira McGuiness went 3-for-3 with a run.
Pappas slams PBA as Nottingham Insurance wins
            Apr. 20: Nottingham Insurance cancelled Hamilton PBA, 9-4, in HGSA Instructional League action as Nicole Pappas was solid on the mound and hit a grand slam. Sophia Kloutis found her swing on the left side, going 2 for 3 and scoring a run, while Keira McGuiness added to the lead with a hit and a run.
HGSA Minors

Coiante makes all the right moves for DiMaggio’s Auto
     Apr. 19: Lauren Coiante showed she has moves like Jagger in collecting two triples, including a bases-clearing shot, in DiMaggio's Auto Service's 6-0, five-inning win over DeFranks’ Appliances and Kitchens in HGSA Minor Division play.
    Cassidy Wood hit a two-run triple and Ashley Kinczel had a bases-loaded walk to back Chloe Lewis, who fired a one-hitter and recorded 14 of her 15 outs via strikeouts. Caitlyn Hallam collected DeFranks' only hit and Talia Hawkins allowed only two runs and struck out 10 in four innings.

Apr. 17 HGSA Minors
Bridgers does it all as Roma Bank tops Joe’s
    Apr. 17: Cora Bridgers pitched a complete game and added 4 RBI and two hits as Roma Bank defeated Joes Transmission, 8-1, in HGSA Minor Division action tonight.  Victoria Savelli added a triple and single and Kelsey Whalen chipped in with an RBI single. Julia Martine, Jess Hallam and Emma Crane anchored the defense by turning two double plays.
Apr. 16 HGSA Minors
Pope delivers winning sermon at plate and in circle
       Apr. 16: An impressive two-way performance from Alexis Pope led Poor Boy Subs to a 3-1 win over First Bank, as Alexis Pope came up huge at the dish and on the rubber. Pope clubbed a double and triple, while allowing no earned runs and two hits in three innings pitched to earn the save.
       Morgan Comfort notched the mound win by allowing one run, one walk and two hits while striking out six in three innings. Madison Balke, who clubbed a two-run homer to cap a second-inning rally, Pope and Dana Demeo combined for five hits and three RBI.
      First Bank got an RBI single from Kaylee Whittaker, while Blare Krauser and Vladia Trinh each had singles.

Apr. 15 HGSA Instructional Division
Acevedo, Rende bats lead Nottingham Insurance to win
                    Apr. 15: The  Nottingham Insurance bats came alive in the second inning for a 6-3 triumph over Foley’s Shop ‘N Bag in HGSA instructional play today. Cierra Acevedo homered, while Nicole Rende had a two-run triple. Contributing on defense were Melissa Weitz and Katie Philburn, who each had their strikeout pitches working.
Masterpolo and Mehl power Hamilton PBA to victory
         Apr. 15:
 Jenna Masterpolo and Julia Mehl each had three hits and two runs scored as Hamilton PBA defeated Simco Construction, 8-7. Emily Martz added two doubles for PBA.
                HGSA says Play Ball!!!!And yes, that is exactly what this group of HGSA players are saying into the microphone -- Play Ball!! -- after Saturday's Opening Day ceremonies were completed. The time has come to play ball this spring in the renowned league (Photo by Ken Weingartner). 
Click here for 4 pages of HGSA opening day photos
HGSA crowns its Aquafina Pitch, Hit and Run champions

Apr. 14 HGSA Minor Division
DiMaggio's Auto Service gets in the flow with Chloe

Apr. 14: Winning pitcher Chloe Lewis drove in three runs and DiMaggio's Auto Service scored the final nine runs in a 10-5 win over Hamilton Dental Associates. Lauren Coiante's two-run triple broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning and Haley Lestician also had a pair of RBIs while DiMaggio's improved to 2-1.
            DiMaggio's had earned its first win by beating Roma Savings, 5-2. Lewis threw a complete-game two-hitter with 13 strikeouts and Cassidy Carroll delivered a two-run single in the triumph.
Apr. 12 HGSA Minor Division
Whittaker, Russo twirl a two-hitter for First Bank

   Apr. 12: Kaylee Whittaker and Nicole Russo combined on a two-hitter as First Bank topped Joe’s Transmissions, 3-1. Russo, Natalie Mehl and Ashley Gershnicker had the RBIs, while Ciara Donaldson had two hits for Joe’s.         
Apr. 10 HGSA Minors
Brugnoli and Bridgers homer as Roma rolls
      Apr. 10: Roma Bank won its third straight HGSA Minor Division game by taking a 7-1 win over First Bank. Megan Brugnoli and Cora Bridgers each homered while Niki Harrill added two hits.
      Bridgers also went the distance on the mound and was aided by stellar defense from Victoria Savelli, Julia Martine and Jess Hallam, who all made huge inning-ending plays.

Apr. 9 HGSA Minors
Kaufman’s hit lifts Roma Bank past Poor Boy
     April 9: Julianne Kaufman’s sixth-inning single drove in what proved to be the winning run as Roma Bank rallied for a 10-8 victory over Poor Boy in the HGSA Minor Division tonight. Emma Crane handled the pitching for Roma, while Julia Martine tripled and doubled and Cora Bridgers drove in five runs as the Bankers won their second straight.
Apr. 5 HGSA Minors
Poor Boy gets rich thanks to raised Comfort level
    Apr. 5: Poor Boy Subs beat Hamilton Dental, 5-3, tonight behind the bat and the arm of Morgan Comfort.
    Comfort, whose father eluded a Larkin Search Party throughout the NCAA Tournament, reached base three times, clubbed a homer, scored two runs and drove in one. Comfort got the win in the circle, and struck out eight, outdueling Dental’s Kasey Giordano, who had 11 Ks.
    The teams traded runs for most of the contest, leading to four lead changes. Poor Boy finally managed to grab the lead after a strong fourth inning and went up for good on a two-run single by Madison Balke, which brought home Natalie Kozemchak and Courtney Danser.
      Hamilton Dental had hits by Lauren Texany, Taylor Hawkes Olivia Owens and Meg McMahon.

Apr. 4 HGSA Minors
Gaskill, Ruch spark First Bank’s sixth-inning explosion
      Apr. 4: First Bank broke open a tight contest with five sixth-inning runs to take an 11-6 win over Hamilton Dental in HGSA Minor Division play. Gracie Gaskill and Rachel Ruch each had two-run singles in the uprising. Nicole Cerasi (2 runs), Olivia Buote, Marissa Cooper and Kaylee Whittaker all had hits for the Bank.
    Hamilton Dental was led by Kasey Giordano (3 hits) and Taylor Hawkes (2 hits).

Flowers blooms with huge hit for victorious Roma
      Apr. 4: Melanie Flowers delivered a bases-loaded single to drive in the winning runs as Roma Bank topped Colgate, 5-2, in HGSA Minor Division lay. Cora Bridgers went the distance for the win, while Niki Harrill, Megan Brugnoli and Kelsie Whalen all added RBI hits.
HGSA Minors
Gershnicker slams DeFrank’s as First Bank triumphs
      Apr. 2: First Bank opened the season with a 6-2 win over DeFrank’s Appliances as Ashley Gershnicker clubbed an inside-the-park grand slam to wipe out a 1-0 deficit. Blake Krauszer added a two-run single in the fifth.
       Emily Diszler had a key bunt single to start the fourth-inning rally. Nicole Russo and  Kaylee Whittaker each pitched three strong innings and had one hit each for the winners.

Members of the Hamilton Hurricanes White display their second-place trophies after falling to their buddies, the Hamilton White team in the championship game of the Storm Surge indoor tournament. Team members include (kneeling) Tori Bowen, Julia Martine; (from left) Breanna Federico, Grace Cooke, Iliana Nytkas, Megan Brugnoli, Taylor Thompson, Heather Clevenger, Kaylee Whittaker; (back row) Gabby Estrada, Chloe Lewis and Kelsie Whalen.
Storm Surge Indoor Softball Tournament
12U Hurricanes Blue tops HGSA White for championship

          Click here for Spring, 2011 HGSA rec/travel stories/photos
              Click here for July/August 2010 HGSA stories/photos
                     Click here for June 2010 HGSA results/photos 
                      Click here for May 2010 HGSA results/photos 
                Click here for April 2010 HGSA results/stories/photos            

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(Temporarily known as Charlie Inverso's blog)

July 12 2014

Views from Inverso

as the World Cup
title match

    July 12: Rider University men’s soccer coach Charlie Inverso is the former goalie coach for the U.S. Under-15 National team and has a keen understanding of international soccer.

      Inverso continues to share his thoughts with Fish4scores on this year’s World Cup as it prepares for Sunday’s championship game between Argentina and Germany.

       Of the two World Cup semifinals played this week, one will be talked about for the next 50 years, the other, probably for the next 50 minutes. If the semifinals needed a movie title, for sure, it would have to be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.


      When the non-soccer fan says the sport of soccer is boring, they point to this game. And ya know what? They are right.

       ESPN studio analyst Santiago Scolari (who incidentally played a year of college soccer at Stockton State) says it was a great tactical game. Tactical-Schmacktical. I like Scolari but this game was a bore and atypical of this great World Cup.


       Shock, dismay, surreal… the list of words goes on and on to describe the utter disbelief that the entire world experienced watching Germany dismantle five-time world champion Brazil. It was like being at a beauty contest and hearing the host announce the winner is Joan Rivers (Hey Joan, did you get the license plate number of that plastic surgeon that hit you?).

       We had mentioned that this German machine, like a deadly virus can take you down slowly, painfully and clinically. We all knew that to be true but no epidemiologist in the world could have predicted this.

       Losing Neymar was a national disaster but the loss of Thiago Silva, the captain, caused a colossal amount of damage to unbalance Brazil’s defense. In addition, the Brazilians were mentally weak right from the start and seemed to have given up after going down 4-0.

       After that historic 29 minute Blitzkrieg where the Germans scored four times, they proceeded to reduce the Brazilians to look like the “skin” team in a Manfred Schellscheidt organized pick-up game. Germany could have given Sergeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes or a Billy Seiler-trained Rich Fisher a run in midfield and it wouldn’t have mattered.

        Despite the joy of watching this German machine it was sad to see the greatest team in the history of international soccer taken apart like a cheap watch. It was like watching an aging Sinatra forget the lyrics to My Way or seeing a washed up Nolan Ryan only able to hit 69 mph on the radar with his fastball.


     I have to laugh when my German friends say their team may be too soft to win the World Cup.   
     Soft, are you kidding me?

     This team is a great reflection of the entire country of Germany, a fabulous society. The Germans are sharp, cunning and calculated.

      I have been to Germany three times and I find the people to be extremely warm but there is a killer instinct to this soccer team.

      For example, midfielder Mesut Ozil, missed an easy chance late in the game and could have made the score 8-0. Reports had it that fellow midfielder Bastian Schwinsteiger got right up in his face for missing the chance that seconds later caused them to concede a goal.    
       That is Michael Jordan-Larry Bird style of cold and calculated.

9/10ths OF THE LAW

     In soccer this should be reworded to say “possession with the intent to score is 9/10 of the law”. The Germans did it, Argentina, Brazil and Holland (despite having some of the best players on the planet) did not. Possession is nothing significant unless you are trying to get in behind the defense to score.

       Both Holland and Argentina could have gotten their forwards or wide players to take up high, wide starting positions to try to get behind the defenders or have their forwards, from a central position, make wide scooping runs to get in behind.

       Brazil almost always owns possession and has fun doing it.

      Not against Germany.    
      They were chasing from opening whistle to the end.


      The top seven goalkeepers in this tournament, in my opinion have been Manuel Neuer (Germany), Thibault Courtois (Belgium), Tim Howard (USA), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica), Memo Ochoa (Mexico), Hugo Lloris (France) and despite only playing in two games the legendary Italian, Gigi Buffon.

       You may think I am crazy but if the goalkeepers were switched in the Brazil-Germany game the score probably would have been more like 5-3.
       Julio Cesear certa inly was not at fault for any of the goals but any of the keepers listed above might have been able to save a few. The same can be said for the penalty kicks taken by Argentina which makes the Louis van Gaal strategy to switch keepers vs. Costa Rica look more genius like.

       Look for Germany to have a big advantage with Neuer in goal Sunday.



      Is there anyone in the modern game who has a cooler persona than German standout Thomas Muller? He possesses an impeccable sense of humor, runs a charitable foundation for children who have experienced trauma and bereavement and he is married to a super model.
        Oh, and by the way he is just 24 and has scored 10 goals in 12 World Cup matches.

       OK, a close second in the cool department is Manuel Neuer. He is recognized as probably the greatest goalkeeper in the World, AND, he was a character voice for the German version of Monsters University.

         I wonder if they had to change Mike and Sully’s names to Gunner and Wolfgang?


        When most countries experience a meltdown OR when they finally feel a need for a wakeup call, they recreate their system of player development. This happened to Germany 14 years ago and look how it turned out. Portugal, France and most recently Spain and Belgium all did the same and it produced renaissance results.

       The only step missing for us in the US is a revamped system of player development. I hope to talk more about this in a post World Cup blog.

      I wonder what Brazil, who created The Beautiful Game as a way of life is thinking now?



      I will admit, I was wrong when I said I didn’t think Miroslav Klose would break the all-time World Cup goal scoring record. He did.

       What a fitting tribute to a typical German pro who just goes about his business in the right way. With the tumultuous environment surrounding the one sided German win, Klose’s phenomenal achievement almost went unnoticed.


       I love the sharp, cutting edge game critique from former England/Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman. But if you cannot understand him half the time, join the club. ESPN needs to consider closed captions to help the Liverpudlian accent impaired.



        We need a good World Cup final on Sunday!

      You will get one.

     Argentina will play in three tight layers of defense and probably give way to the Germans to possess the ball. When Argentina wins the ball they have the best creator in the world to turn to but I am not sure that they will purposely sit in, win the ball and then counter.

        Germany made great adjustments when they moved Phillip Lahm out of the midfield and put him at right back, removed Per Mertesacker out of the center back position and started playing Klose as a center forward using Ozil and Muller as their natural left and right wing positions.

       What this game needs more than anything is an early goal. If it is scored by Argentina, all the better for the energy and attacking mentality of the game. The Germans will then mount an all-out assault on the Argentine goal and they have the arsenal to make it a classic attack.

        If Germany scores first and the Argentines are sitting in, it will force them out of a defensive posture into attack mode. Championship games are often defensive so let’s really hope for an early goal to mix this up.



         Lionel Messi has some pressure on him for Sunday. He has been criticized for not carrying his weight when playing for his home country, been often compared to Argentine icon Diego Maradona and even been removed by many as the world’s greatest player. This leaves a lot of incentive for the incredibly gifted Messi. If one player can step up to make a difference, it is him.

         It has been a long, tough month in the Brazilian heat. Germany has incredible depth but still the heat can still take its toll on a European squad. Plus, Germany is the clear favorite in the game which often times causes them (even the even tempered German’s) to be tight. Watch for this to be a factor also.

       I hope for and anticipate a highly energetic game. Let’s hope the fans get their money’s worth and see a highly entertaining game.

       I have Germany in a 3-1 victory.

       Let me know who you have winning by emailing me at ci142@aol.com


     If you never saw what I think may be the greatest World Cup game ever type in at You Tube videos: Battiston vs. Schumacher: Infamous moments. It is a 6-minute video of France vs. Germany in the 1982 semifinal highlighted by the German GK Toni Schumacher with a Lawrence Taylor-like hit on French forward Patrick Battiston.


       Rest in peace, Kevin Kinnevy and enjoy the final. If I close my eyes I can still see you running around with the German (GAK) uniform on your back.


July 7, 2014

Inverso sizes up

semis match-ups

and adds other

World Cup tidbits

      July 7: Rider University men’s soccer coach Charlie Inverso is the former goalie coach for the U.S. Under-15 National team and has a keen sense of the inner-workings of what goes on with the U.S. team as well as with goalkeepers.
      Inverso was kind of enough to share his thoughts for the second straight week on the World Cup with Fish4score, as he analyzes the upcoming semifinals and gives his thoughts on U.S. goalie Tim Howard.

      July 7: What a great World Cup it has been!

      We all should be very proud of the effort and gutsy display showed by our guys last Tuesday against Belgium. The US national team provided this country with a buzz and a lot of excitement that should definitely help the sport to continue to grow.
        Kudos to Jurgen Klinsmann and his team for a great showing.

       We got everything we talked about last week and more. Near misses (Holland hits the post three times vs. Costa Rica), goalkeeper saves (Tim Howard of the US and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica) and more attempts on goal than any World Cup in recent history.

       But the best is still to come.


       The U.S. is out of the tournament but there are a lot of amazing players and three great games left to see. Arguably the four greatest soccer nations in history remain and they all have a storied past in this tournament.

     *Ten of the past 14 World Cups were won by three of the countries still left, along with Holland --   the quintessential bridesmaid.

     *Nine of the past 14 World Cup runners-up are countries still left.

     *Four teams left, two from the Eastern Hemisphere, two from the Western Hemisphere.

      *Five of the top eight leading scorers are still left,

     The Brazil vs. Germany matchup is an absolute classic.

     Brazil has not lost a home game in a major tournament since Joe Fink was listening to Frampton Comes Alive  on an eight-track tape player in 1975.

      However, they are facing a dangerous German machine that, like a deadly virus, takes you out slowly, painfully and clinically.

     The climate heavily favors Brazil but they will not have an antidote for the loss of Neymar, Brazil’s marquee player, and Thiago Silva. The center official lost control early of the Colombia-Brazil game and it was too late to prevent the onslaught of fouls, one of which took out Neymar.

       Also, coaches and parents, the next time you see a young kid do something foolish on the field consider this.
      Tiago Siva, who scored Brazil’s first goal and is the captain of the greatest soccer nation of all time cannot play in the semifinal for an accumulation of yellow cards. How did he get the last one? For jumping in front of the Columbian goalkeeper when he was about to kick the ball. Dummkopf!

      The X factor could be in goalkeeping. Brazil is known for producing legendary creative players with charisma, not keepers.
         Germany’s Manuel Neuer is rated as the world’s top goalkeeper and his style is often contrary to his country’s conservative manner. Neuer often comes out of the penalty area to play the ball with his feet (21 times vs.Algeria) and this tactic might lend itself to some interesting consequences vs. Brazil.

       German forward Miroslav Klose is one goal away from becoming the all-time scoring leader in the history of the World Cup. If Germany decides to play with a true center forward, we will have a chance to see history. But something tells me that the 36-year old Klose may not get the chance to break the record.


      It will be fun for anyone who played soccer in the late 70s and early 80s to notice the uncanny the resemblance between Klose and former GAK/Hamilton West striker John Wiener as well as that of German midfielder Bastian Sweinsteiger and another former GAK/Hamilton West star, Walt Biddulph.


     Another classic looms on Wednesday between two-time champion Argentina, which has the world’s greatest player in Lionel Messi, and the Dutch, who crushed defending champion Spain 5-1 in the first game and is 0-3 in World Cup finals.

      Argentina will be without Angel DeMaria who is Messi’s favorite target for a through ball. However they still have a great scoring threat in Gonzalo Higuain.

       Young players wanting to score goals should watch Higuain’s goal vs. Belgium. It was a  classic strike on goal. He had his back to the goal and took a shot that required two of the most difficult aspects of scoring a goal, a first time shot and hitting a bouncing ball.
      They are also two of the toughest shots for a goalie to handle.

       Holland has abandoned its classic 4-3-3 formation which is about as unexpected as Jo Jo’s resident Rutgers fanatic, Andrew Marinucci, wearing an orange Syracuse jersey.

       Every youth team in Holland grows up playing in a 4-3-3 but coach Louis Van Gal, who will be coaching Manchester United, has employed a 5-3-2. The guy knows what he is doing and will probably have something up his sleeve for Argentina.

      Still, Argentina has Messi and somehow he will find a way to get them to the final.

       A Brazil vs. Argentina final would be a match made in heaven but I am going with Germany vs. Argentina.


       Move over Tony Soprano, Knucky Thompson and Jack Nicholson, New Jersey has a new tough guy superstar.

      Coming off his world class performance in Brazil don’t be surprised to see Tim Howard’s mug on TV a lot more. Look for Howard to become the new face of U.S. Soccer, which can only be good for the sport. His tattooed, bad guy look will be good for the image of the game. Plus, his story (raised by a single mom in North Brunswick and overcoming Tourette’s Syndrome) is a good one.

       Most of Howard’s saves against Belgium were from point blank range, which plays right into the wheelhouse of a ridiculous athlete like he is. Howard has an interesting style on those plays as he leans or ‘cheats’ to one side much like a goalkeeper would do on a penalty kick. Because of his freak athletic ability even when he guesses wrong he can still make the kick save, which he did against his Everton teammate Kevin Mireless.

       Look for Howard to still be around in 2018 in Russia. He will be battling Brad Guzan who will not bring the same flamboyant style but will be another in the long line of standout U.S. national team keepers. Ironically, both Howard and Guzan were both all state midfielders in high school, which backs up what master coach Manfred Schellscheidt always says -- "the goalkeeper is just another soccer player who is allowed to use his hands.”
      Howard also has some interesting local ties as his North Brunswick high school basketball team squared off against Steinert in a Central Jersey Group IV tournament final that Rich Fisher actually covered while working for a North Brunswick weekly paper (Fish actually covered Howard during his sophomore year and agreed with Manfred that he was an outstanding field player).

       The basketball game was played at Steinert in March, 1997 and marked a battle between a future World Cup goalie and future NBA player in Dahntay Jones.

     I was at that game as my wife, Lynne, taught Dahntay and I can attest that Tim held his own against Jones.

      Steinert, however prevailed and a few months later Howard signed a pro soccer contract. In the end it was Roger Bigos and Albert Mostrangeli’s stifling defense that probably frustrated Howard enough to force him to turn to soccer.
      And trust me, Al will try to take as much credit for Tim’s success as he can.

       Good for you Tim. I have never heard anyone say anything but good things about you.


      So do I. When I coached at Mercer we lost a National Championship final on PK’s and that dour feeling never goes away.

      I have a solution. If the World Cup final is tied, wait a week and play the entire game over. Can you imagine the money that would be generated by that rematch? And NOBODY loves money more than FIFA.

     Agree? Disagree? Email your thoughts on Charlie Inverso's blog to ci142@aol.com.


Jun. 30, 2014
Rider soccer coach

Inverso analyzes

World Cup as U.S.

awaits Belgium

    June 30: Rider University men’s soccer coach Charlie Inverso is the former goalie for the U.S. Under-15 National team and has a keen sense of the inner-workings of what goes on with the U.S. team. Inverso was kind of enough to share his thoughts on the World Cup with Fish4score, as the U.S. prepares to meet Belgium in the Knockout Round Tuesday.

      These views do not necessarily reflect those of Fish4scores, a non-purist/non-perfectionist fan who doesn’t care if America gets outplayed every game as long as the winning party continues!

        I have yet to come across the person, whether they are a casual fan or a die-hard, who has not raved about or at least enjoyed the 2014 World Cup.

       I must confess, I did not think we would get out of the group and I had my concerns about the player selection and lineup. But kudos to Jurgen Klinsmann, his staff and especially the players for the tremendous job they have done so far.

      The positive is that we beat the odds and got through the Group of Death but there is a huge side of me that feels empty. We have, as in 2010 and 2002 caught a ton of breaks and were decisively outplayed in two of our three games.
       Like many of us perfectionist/purists I just don’t want us to continue to win games from good old American guts and glory. I want us to outplay the other country like we did in three of our games in 2002.

      This is why I am really looking forward to an exciting game against Belgium.

     Belgium is a team that is experiencing a renaissance period with an influx of young, talented players that you will want to watch. More about them later.
     Here are some random thoughts I have had while watching nearly every game.

      A) Diving -
I absolutely hate it but it is a cultural thing and it probably won’t go away so why let it ruin the game for you?

      B) Biting - What a shame that a player with such skill and passionrobs us fans of his uncanny talent. I hope Suarez gets some help.

      C) Offsides - HATE IT. The AR (linesmen) is often too anxious to be a part of the show. I wish the rule called for a complete separation (except when going to goal vs. Rider) between the attacker and the defender.

      D) Commentators - Roberto Martinez is the best studio analyst we have ever had. Probably because he coaches in the best league in the world. What a difference from Ernie Johnson in the TBS studio in 1990. Michael Ballack and Ruud van Nistelrooy are also very good and wear cool suits.

       F) Straight Red Card - Sometimes it looks like the tackle did not deserve the red card and it was not a hard foul. It is hard to justify and accept having to play with one less player.

       I still like a good hard game but players are stronger than ever and there is NO protection out there. Shin guards are about as helpful as a helmet to a sky diver.

       The red card is a preventative measure and is meant to protect the more talented players from getting clobbered. Pele was useless in the 1962 World Cup because of vicious tackles so can you imagine how many times Messi would get chopped up if not for the red card rule?

       G) Lack of Scoring - This might end up being the highest scoring World Cup ever. Don’t worry about low scoring games, focus on the skill, speed of play and chances at goal. A great chance that is missed can be as exciting as a goal. Take for example Chile hitting the crossbar with less than five minutes to go that would have eliminated Brazil.

       Also, a great game to watch is when the better team is tied or trailing and is chasing the game to score. You will see chance after chance and it resembles a 30 minute power play.

       H) Best place to watch a game - In your living room on a 55 inch flat screen (God, I only wish) with the maximum of just two other people. Sorry Mike Scharibone.

Rich Fisher has declared the Mercer County Athletics Christmas Eve Club to be the “Greatest Three Hours of the Year”. Well then, this was the “worst 55 seconds of the year” at the end of the tie with Portugal. Michael Bradley lost the ball in the midfield but it should never have even happened.

     If I could use a football analogy it would be as if you had the ball on your own 30 and instead of taking a knee (DeAndre Yedlin) you try to run a play and fumble. Then, instead of dropping everyone back, playing five defensive backs and defending the Hail Mary, you decide to blitz. This is coupled with the fact that the opponent has a receiver like Calvin Johnson.

        There should have been 10 players behind the ball but we gave the greatest player in the world (although he is only a 50 percent Ronaldo) a chance to show why he earned that title. An aerial camera shot also showed that Geoff Cameron, who was our best player vs. Ghana, was the other player to be vilified when it was actually Fabian Johnson who did not track his man.

        For you youngsters watching at home, if you want to score goals, get into the box. Silvestre Varela ran over 65 yards to get on the end of the insanely great Ronaldo cross to score probably the best (and most painful) goal of the tournament.

I make no bones about it, I am a big Michael Bradley fan and despite his struggles I still consider him our catalyst.

      The US is playing three holding midfielders, which is like playing with three two-guards in basketball. Most teams play with an up midfielder or playmaker, a two way midfielder a defensive midfielder. Bradley is playing the up midfielder and, for me, is trying to do too much because we lack the variety in midfield personnel.

     What the people who are killing him don’t realize is that he has covered more ground than any midfielder in the World Cup. At any level, but particularly the international level, this is huge.

     Dempsey is the captain and the ultimate X factor but this team feeds off of Bradley and Tim Howard.

     I have known Michael since he was a baby but I haven’t talked to him in five years. Still, I don’t defend him because I know him but because he is the consummate pro. Anyone who thinks he should be yanked for the Belgium game is, pretty much a moron.

       Belgium did not qualify for the previous two World Cups and have not reached the round of 16 since 2002. However they are experiencing a Golden Age in which they have stockpiled many young talented players who play the game with great skill and precision.

      Belgium schooled us in a pre-World Cup game last year and they are currently doing what I hope we can do some day and that is produce players who play regularly in some of the greatest teams in the world.

        They have 17 players playing in the three top leagues (England, Spain, Germany) in the world and an amazing 11 players playing for clubs ranked in the top 10 in the world. Not only will you enjoy the level of play but you will get a kick out of center midfielder Fellaini (Number 6) who looks like a cross between Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter and Harpo Marx. It is going to be a great contest and a great test to gauge our progress.

        I used to worry about the growth of soccer and its popularity. I don’t worry about this anymore because what this World Cup has proven is that Americans will watch the game and enjoy it if it is a good game with good players on display.

     Trust me, Tuesday will be top notch.

May 25, 2014

Grace-Mania runs

rampant at CJ III meet at Monmouth;
remembering dad
on Memorial Day

     May 25: There’s no getting around it. Grace Dwyer is becoming a freakin’ rock star.
      The Nottingham High sophomore destroys the stereotype. She’s quiet, humble, courteous, kind toward others and everything else that a rock star isn’t supposed to be.

     But she’s becoming one any way.

     After taking her second gold medal Saturday at this weekend’s NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III meet at Monmouth Regional High School, Dwyer stood under the bleachers getting ready for an interview and some middle aged guy walked by pumping his fist. “Great job Grace, awesome as usual!” She smiled and politely replied “Thank you!”

     “Who’s that guy?” I asked.

    “I don’t know,” came the answer with a shrug.

     It didn’t stop there. All through the interview, people were walking by yelling her name, barking congratulations, looking over at her as if just trying to catch a glimpse.

     I felt like a rock star just being the one to interview her, for cryin’ out loud.

    It was really cool.

    But was it ever expected?

    “I don’t know,” said the Amazing One. “I never really thought about it.”

    Which is why she is Grace Dwyer. Humble to the core as she runs her way through life and loves every minute of it. And more and more people are enjoying the ride, as was witnessed Saturday.

     Not just the strangers walking by, but the girls she is racing against, who can’t get mad at someone for beating them, when that same someone is encouraging them as they come across the finish line. And when she approaches those girls, some of their faces light up, like “Wow!”

      Whenever I text out the latest record that Grace sets, the re-tweets blow up. Not just from track people and not just from Nottingham people. They are kids from Steinert and Hamilton. . .they are football players and soccer stars.

      What is it about the Amazing One? What is this growing craze of Grace Mania?

     “Distance races aren’t easy,” said Nottingham coach Melissa “Shop ‘N Bag” Foley, who has impressively taken on the responsibility of preparing this rare young talent for a promising future. “You have to train to get to that level. You can’t skip out on the training aspect of it.

     “So people know you have to be a disciplined athlete . . . a disciplined person, period. You’re not going to get to this level if you’re not disciplined. So I think people appreciate that. . .and it’s fun to watch her.”

      But what makes it even more special is the person herself.

     It’s Grace being Grace – a rock star who doesn’t act like one.
     And from what I've seen so far, I don't see that ever changing.


* * * *


     It’s Memorial Day Weekend, one of my favorite times of the year.

      And yes, my friends will tell you a big part of that is the free beer and hot dogs at Nottingham Firehouse after Monday’s parade. And no, I can’t argue that.

      But I’m a big picture guy. And the big picture is, a lot of good men and women . .. A LOT . . . gave their lives so I can enjoy a sunny-day parade and all the fun that follows. Our country is safe and free because of those people, including my dad.

     Thankfully, he did not give his life in the line of duty. If he did, I wouldn’t be here. He served six years in the Navy during World War II – went out and enlisted right after Pearl Harbor like so many others.

      He regaled me with tales of his service days. But it’s not what you think. He never spoke of battles, or combat or danger.

     He spoke of his good buddy, Speedy Shantz of North Carolina, who I heard about so much I feel like he’s my good buddy (and who I always wanted to meet). He bragged about the women he was with, always joking I may have siblings all over the world that I knew nothing about (I just hope they’re rich and know about me when they die).

     But he never talked about “The War.”

     So up until he passed away nearly 10 years ago, I just thought World War II was one big party for Dick Fisher.

      After he left us, I had to go through his things. And I saw ribbons, and medals and accommodations and tons of other honors that smacked me over the head and said “Your father was a hero bud, but he never wanted to brag about it.”

    I got tears in my eyes looking at them, being impressed at how modest he was about it, but getting mad that he never let me appreciate what he did while he was alive. This guy put his life on the line time after time after time.

     I’m a true believer in The Greatest Generation – those who grew up with nothing due to the depression, and then went out and fought for a country that had treated it kind of badly up to that point. One of the greatest traits of that era was, they did what they had to do without feeling they were owed anything, or needed praise for their accomplishments.

      They did what they had to do, whether in war, or as little kids.

     My dad grew up during the depression with my Uncle Len – whom I curse both of them for making me a hopeless Phillies fan. He told me how he and Len and some other neighborhood kids would buy 10 baking potatoes for a nickel, put them in foil, dig a hole and light a fire to cook them. It would take a while so they would go off and play, then come back when they were done.

     One day their play time was interrupted by fire engines. They quit what they were doing and followed the red trucks to see the fire. It was a giant billboard up in flames. Beneath the billboard was a hole with 10 potatoes in foil sitting there.

      “What did you do?” I asked.

      “We waited for the fire engines to leave, then dug up our potatoes and ate them,” he said, adding the refrain I heard so often. “Hey, it was the depression.”

       Anyway, I wax eloquent about my dad for a reason. He is buried in the BG William C Doyle Veterans Cemetery in Arneytown, which is a suburb of the thriving metropolis of Wrightstown.

       If you have an ounce of patriotism in you, go visit that cemetery this Memorial Day weekend. Take my word for it, this is not some maudlin suggestion that I know sounds like it would be depressing. It is inspirational. It will give you chills. It’s like visiting Arlington National Cemetary on a smaller scale.

      They put flags at the gravesites of every person buried there. And it’s open space so there is usually a breeze, with thousands of flags blowing proudly. If it doesn’t move you in some way, then you’re just not American.

      I’m not saying go out of your way to do this. But it’s not too far off Route 195. If you’re in the area, just drive through. It takes 10 minutes. It’s awesome.

      Other than that, Happy Memorial Day everybody. Enjoy your picnics and golf games and trips to the shore and, of course, the Memorial Day Parade and the free beer and hot dogs that come with it.

     And take time to remember why we get to enjoy it all.

    I know I will.

May 11, 2014

Hey Liz Clifford:
You freakin' rock !

    May 11: First off, happy Mother’s Day to all you sports moms out there, especially Fish4scores Twitter Team moms Angela LaBelle, Kathy Hallam and Patti Astbury, and the Fish4scores photographer moms Donna “The Trooper” Brihn, Mary Malone, Nancy Eggert, Nancy McManimon and the newly arrived Karen Kontrath .

       Oh yeah, and to my mom too. Love ya mom!!

       OK, now that’s taken care of, let me just say there are some days where I absolutely cherish my job, and this is one of those days.

        All thanks to Nottingham High senior softball catcher Liz Clifford.

       This has nothing to do with last-second buzzer beaters, or a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, or a guy running for 250 yards and five touchdowns.

       This goes beyond the field.

        So often, because what I do is cover and report on games, I only see high school kids as athletes. I sometimes forget, or disregard, that there are countless other sides to their lives.

        Which, I find curious, because my favorite part of being a sports writer is not attending athletic events, but dealing with so many different personalities and sharing laughs and stories and all that cool stuff. Of all the wonderful friends I am so lucky to have, a huge percentage have come from covering sports, which is proof positive there is more to the athlete than the games themselves, because I don’t go over their house and watch them play a game (unless Fantasy Football counts).

      Fortunately, there are times when I am reminded that the athletic part of the person is only a small percentage of the equation. When doing stories on scholarship winners, I see all the great things these kids do in their school and community that have nothing to do with a ball or puck or discus. Or when attending banquets, and getting to hear some of the marvelous things these kids do.

       Or days like today, when Liz Clifford knocked my socks off so effectively, I rushed home to write this blog so fast I almost forgot to pick up coffee at 7-11 . . .note the word “almost”.

        Today was Youth Day at my church. The youth took over all the roles usually performed by the adults (including giving me the day off as an usher. Thanks guys!).

        The biggest responsibility of the day fell to Clifford, who volunteered to give the sermon. And, as Youth Minister Doug Cornelius pointed out, this was done at the 8 a.m. service – the earliest of the day – so that’s even more impressive.

      (Of course we all know the real reason Liz did this is because Nottingham is playing Notre Dame in the Mercer County Tournament Monday, so she is doing what she can to even things up with the Big Man, right? Ha ha! Kidding!!!)

       Anyway, when I saw Liz’s name in the program – although her church goin’ name is Elizabeth, lol – I got very excited and nudged the guy next to me. “That’s the Nottingham softball catcher! I’ve interviewed her.” He nodded and gave an “Oh yeah?” but I detected his excitement level did not quite reach mine.

       Anyway, I always knew Liz was a good kid just from my interviews with her, and watching her interact with teammates. I knew nothing about her public speaking skills, however.

      Now I do.

      And Liz Clifford, you were freakin’ awesome!!!

      Liz stood before the congregation and delivered a message of faith, and how important faith has been to her life.  She gave unfortunate examples of how she nearly lost faith due to several difficulties earlier in life, but turned the sermon into one of positive re-enforcement by declaring how she regained her faith, how it got her though it all, and how it sustains her each and every day.

       She spoke fluidly, firmly, emotionally, eloquently and with purpose. There were no pauses, or “uhs”. Liz knew what she wanted to get across and did it so very well.

       It was tremendous. I sat there grinning with pride, as if I had anything at all the do with it. I wanted to stand up and say “I know her!”

      I didn’t, only because I imagined the conversation in the dugout before tomorrow’s game with ND.

      “Hey, you guys know that guy Fisher from Fish4scores? You should have seen what an idiot he made of himself yesterday.”

       “Really? Tell us all about it!”

       So, common sense took over and I sat and smiled, as did Liz’s mom. It was great. And even though I didn’t blurt it out in church, I will say it here and now. 

     I know Liz Clifford.

    And I’m darn proud to say it!

             * * * *

      OK, here’s a question. Are you ever in the bank, waiting for a really slow teller to complete your transaction, and suddenly become aware that there are cameras focused on you from every angle?

        I’ve been dealing with this ever since Roma was eaten up by Investors Bank. They are all new tellers who don’t know you by face, so they have to do a complete FBI background check in order to cash a $10 check.

       As time drags on, I get bored and look around and see all the cameras, and then I start to wonder. . .what do I do? How do they analyze a person?

      If I look at the teller, it makes it seem like I don’t trust them. If I stare over at someone else in line, it could be perceived as leering at a woman. If I cast a gaze toward the other employees, they might think I’m casing the joint for a hold-up. The same goes for looking up at the cameras themselves.

      What to do, what to do?

     And then the answer hits me.

       Just stand here you idiot. No one cares about you.

            * * * *

     Is there a more useless traffic light in Hamilton Township than the one on the corner of White Horse Road and Cypress Lane. It’s just after the YMCA/police station light and just before Killarney’s if you’re heading toward Klockner.

       I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop at that light while waiting for absolutely no one coming out of the side street. Then I have to wait another 15 seconds while the left traffic signal on the other side allows no one to make the left because no one is there.

      C’mon folks, this is the 21st century. Can’t we give these lights the ability to function based on the traffic that is there?

            * * * *

      Here’s something I wonder. In the three major sports that have seven-game playoff formats, no NBA team has ever come back to win a series down 3-0.   Only one has ever done it in baseball (and oh, how I loved that one), but four have done it in hockey, including two in the last four years when the Kings came back against San Jose last month.

       Why is that?

        The only thing I can think of is that a hockey goalie, more than any other individual position in sports, is the biggest difference maker. More than a quarterback and more than a pitcher. Especially a pitcher, whose contributions are limited to once every five days.

        A hot goalie can not only prevent a team from scoring, it can get in the heads of both teams. The team with the goalie starts to believe more in themselves, while the team being stymied starts to wonder. The momentum can switch quickly and then take off.

       So is that the reason?

Nope. It’s just my theory.    
      And I only watch hockey during the playoffs, so consider the source!

          * * * *

        The Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame Dinner was held a few weeks ago and the event continues to be one of the great banquets in the area.

         The close-knit bond developed by soccer players in Mercer over the years is always so evident at the dinner, as some of the greatest to ever play the game swap stories that insult and revere all at once.                      Charlie Inverso and Harold “Bird” Fink are the greatest emcee team around, and Rick “The Voice” Taylor and his sidekick Jeff make sure no one goes thirsty. This year, former Hamilton standouts Joe Hankins and John Carmignani both gave impressive speeches.

            * * * *

      This just in. . .Roger Goodell plans on running the NFL Draft from March 1 to July 30. One team will make one pick each day, and every pick will be televised for 2 hours on the NFL Network and ESPN. This will usually happen at the same time NBA and NHL playoff games are going on.

     I really don’t think the NFL will be happy until it drives the memory of MLB, NBA and NHL from the minds of all Americans. Its becoming their world, and we just live in it.


Mar. 12 2014

Inverso praises

Bradley entry

in to U.S. Soccer

Hall of Fame
      Mar. 12:
A little less than two weeks ago, former Princeton University player and head coach Bob Bradley, who went on to international fame as U.S. and Egyptian National team coach, was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame.

      Hamilton Township native Charlie Inverso, now head coach at Rider University, coached under Bradley at Princeton and is a close friend with the North Jersey product. Inverso was kind enough to provide his thoughts on Bradley’s induction, and what he means to soccer in general.   
     Bob Bradley’s induction is a pretty fitting tribute to a man who has won a Major League Soccer title, took the United States to a Confederations Cup final and, in 2010, advanced the US to the second round of the World Cup.

     But this recognition of Bob is about more than tangible accomplishments.   Bradley’s passion for the game, his undying interest in the growth of the sport in this country and the lives of people that he touched along the way make him a no brainer choice.

      I am fortunate to have called Bob my good friend for the past 30 years. I first met him when he became Princeton University’s head coach in 1984. I had been an assistant at the university for four years previously and when Bradley replaced Bill Muse he decided to retain me on his staff as the JV coach and goalkeeper coach.

        The only thing he said to me was “Everyone told me that you are in it for all the right reasons and that’s enough for me.’ So began my friendship with one of the most influential coach’s that the US has ever had.

        Bradley, easily one of the smartest men that I know, could have been a success in law, politics, medicine…you name it.  But his heart was firmly entrenched in teaching, watching, talking and living soccer 24 hours a day.

       He tried six months of working in sales for Proctor and Gamble but that experiment was about as big of a disaster as if Fish4scores founder Rich Fisher tried to become a Chippendale dancer. God put BB on this earth to coach soccer players and make other soccer coaches better.

      Sometimes I cringe when I think about how much money Bob could have made running soccer camps or overcharging kids for individual lessons. But soccer was NEVER about money to him. It was always about the game, the people he met along the way and forming relationships.

       He was more content to drive all over New Jersey with the legendary Manny Schellscheidt in their matching beat-up Volkswagen’s to conduct a non-paying clinic for youth coaches then he was beefing up his bank account. For the longest time, people couldn’t figure him out.

       Why would a guy with a Princeton degree work for free six nights a week coaching 12 year olds; setting up pick-up games wherever he and Manfred could find nice grass; or driving his 8 year old son from suburban DC to Penn State so that Michael could get in a competitive 5-aside?

       Because he was in it for “all the right reasons."

       One trait of a successful person is being a risk taker. For otherwise conservative people, Bob and his wife Lyndsay are definitely risk takers. Bob left a comfortable job at Princeton to become an assistant in the then fledgling MLS.

      Even after his team DC United won the MLS championship people still told him he was crazy. Crazy enough to take an expansion Chicago Fire team and win the MLS Cup Championship and crazy enough to allow his then-16 year old son to skip college to sign with MLS and play on his squad with the Metrostars.

       He was unfazed, despite not being the top choice to coach the US National team, and led America to a Gold Cup Championship. There were victories over several world powers, including No. 1 ranked Spain, as the U.S. advanced to the second round of the World Cup.

     (Current Princeton U. coach) Jim Barlow and I were in his office in Los Angeles two days after he was fired by US Soccer. We saw his pain, frustration and emptiness and we wondered what would be his next stop. Would it be back to the MLS or maybe college?

       Well, faster than you can say Land of Pharoahs, BB was back coaching. This time it would be the unenviable task of leading the Egyptian National team.   The stories of how Bradley, through soccer, united this country of political unrest and became a national celebrity in this venerable country became known world-wide.

       Still, for a guy who is a risk taker you cannot find a more conservative, throw back kind of man. He is as throw back as Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr.

        In an era when it is more fashionable for coaches to win over fans and media by being witty and charming, he thrives on being honest and often times blunt. He is one of the few guys I know who not only looks you right in the eye when talking but pauses and thinks before he opens his mouth.

        More importantly, he is actually interested in what you have to say. Someone has described a conversation with him as “when you talk to Bob he makes you feel like you are the only person in the room”. And while many who know him well have said after a talk with Bradley you realize “how little you know about the game of soccer”, you always finish a conversation with him feeling better about yourself.

      I have witnessed him talk at length to hundreds of people, most of whom could do nothing to advance his career, but merely wanted to pick his brain and learn more about soccer. I can only imagine how many hours and how many missed meals his lovely wife Lyndsay has accumulated while waiting for her highly-in-demand husband.

       Somewhere along the way he found the time to develop the most important player on the US National team over the past four years, his son Michael.

      Michael, who already ranks as one of the top five players ever produced in the US learned everything he knows from the guy who was also the best man in his wedding, Throwback Bob. And while the family has had to endure countless barbs of nepotism from ignorant fans, Michael has put all of that ridiculous rhetoric to bed by becoming the player the US national team can least afford to lose.

      Did I say that friendship and relationships are important to him? In June of 2009, our family celebrated a once in a lifetime moment as our son CJ was selected to light the torch at the Special Olympics.

       I sent out an email to family and close friends detailing the events of that memorable night.
      The first response I got was from Bob Bradley. He was in South Africa preparing for the Confederations Cup which is a selection of the best national teams and Cup winners in the world.

        He was en route to practice to prepare the United States to take on No. 1 Spain.
        In typical Bradley style, while using an outdated Blackberry he did not just punch in “COOL”. He proceeded to type out two paragraphs on that annoying hand held devise about how proud my wife Lynne and I should be of our son.   
       There was nothing written about him and what he was doing because, to put it simply, Bob gets it and he gets people. That is why he is a great coach.

        Bob is currently in Norway in his new role in another ground breaking capacity. He is the coach of Stade and the first American to coach in a foreign first division league. There is no doubt he is already making a difference and has brought excitement to the small first division club.

      My sincerest congratulations go out to Bob for being named to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. You’re in it for all the right reasons.
     But we already knew that.

Feb. 28, 2014

You’re a good man,

Gary Bushelli

     Feb. 28: Well here’s a nice story I’m happy to share.

    Not quite as nice as me winning the million dollar lottery, but hey it, I’ll share it anyway.

     After Thursday night’s CVC basketball banquet, Hightstown Athletic Director Gary Bushelli was driving out of the Mercer Oaks parking lot when he saw an Oaks employee walking out to Village Road in the freezing cold. And when I tell you it was freezing cold, I’m probably understating it.

      Bushelli stopped and asked the guy why he was walking. He said he had to go catch his bus home. Bushelli asked where the bus stop was and he told him it was at Quakerbridge Mall.

      We’re talking what would be at least a 45-minute walk, maybe more, in bitter freezing cold, just to catch a bus. Bushelli asked the guy where he lived, the guy told him, and Bushelli put him in his car and took him home.

       Despite the fact that made Bushelli late for our post-banquet gathering, I could not have been more impressed by that act of generosity. All I ever really want to do is bust Bush’s chops. I love the guy but praising him is not in my DNA.

      But Bush Man, you deserve all the credit in the world. That’s as generous and as nice it gets. Well done!

             * * *

     As nice as that story was, here’s one at the other end of the spectrum.

     Hamilton West senior Claudia Olsen, who never got to compete in winter track until this year when the township re-instated it, promptly qualified for the Meet of Champions in her first season ever doing high jump.

      So what happens? She returns from a class trip to Key Largo and at practice Thursday she broke her wrist in two spots and also broke her elbow.

      “I landed on the mat with my arm behind my back, and when I came down I heard it crack and break,” Olsen said.

     That folks, is absolutely brutal and pretty damn sad.

     Good luck Claudia. Get better for spring track quickly!

          * * *

      Speaking of the CVC basketball banquet. . .kudos to Jay “D-2” Malloy. The third-year Hamilton West boys’ coach was named the Coach of the Year and there probably wasn’t a person there who disagreed with it.

      However, Malloy needs to work on his speech technique a bit. He walked up, grabbed his plaque and turned around and walked back. The presenter yelled “Don’t you want to say anything?” He was nearly back to his table and yelled “Thanks!” . . .then five seconds later said “I owe it all to my players.”

      For folks who wanted the night to move along quickly, you couldn’t have gotten a better speech (Right, Courtney Adams? Lol) .

            * * *

      To Lauren Kelly, Kristin Jacobs and Erin Wolverton, I must say, I don’t care who didn’t show up! It was awesome hanging with you guys at the post-banquet!

            * * *
       Also at the CVC banquet – GQ Award of the Night goes to Tevin “No Look” Williams who was styling with his red shirt and white bow tie.

            * * *

        Congrats to former Princeton University player and coach Bob Bradley for being inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame. Bob is a unique guy who is fascinating to talk to. His take on things is always thoughtful and unique, be it soccer or life in general.

        Bradley comes from an extremely successful family, as his brother Scott played in the Major Leagues and now coaches Princeton, and his other brother Michael is a nationally renowned sports writer.

       I met their dad a few years ago while he was watching grandson Kevin Bradley play baseball for Hopewell, and you would have never known he had such talented offspring.

       It’s great to see humbleness still exists, and this honor for Bob is well deserved.

            * * *

       I really need to thank Angela LaBelle for her help in tweet updates this year.

      First off, I thank all the hoop parents who helped me out – the Adams, the Kellys, Frank “52-49” Bennett. I seriously appreciate it. I know it’s a pain in the neck watching your kid play and then saying “Oh cripe, I gotta send Fish a text.”

       And yet you did it and I soooo thank you for it, and I know all the Fish4scores twitter followers appreciate it. You are the unsung heroes.

        But Angela gets the “extra mile” award. Ang texted me the updates of the Steinert boys games, and about 75 percent of the time they went down to the wire or into overtime.

       Ang didn’t just update the final score. She would send updates every timeout during the closing minutes, including things like “Plunkett jumper ties it” or something like that. I wrote actual stories off what she sent.

      It was great stuff Mrs. LaBelle. I guess we need to thank Frank as well, for leaving you alone to do your "job." I’m just glad Chris is a freshman. No good deed goes unpunished my friend! You’re stuck for three more years!

      However, as far as post-banquet gatherings go, the LaBelles and Garcias dropped the ball. They are now on double-secret probation unless they show up at Texas Roadhouse on one Athlete of the Week Sunday and keep me company!

          * * *

      I say this every year and I will say it again. The Colonial Valley Conference is blessed to have Jimmy Hines running the show at Mercer Oaks.

      The former Notre Dame soccer standout not only provides reasonable prices for athletic banquets, he and his staff put on an outstanding event. There are never any glitches, everything runs exactly according to plan and the food is always good.

     Keep up the great work Jimmy. You are the best!

           * * *

      While I’m thanking people, I just want to acknowledge outgoing Steinert girls’ soccer coach Aimee Turnbull for being such an easy person to deal with over the years. Whether Steinert won or lost, played good or played bad, Aimee was always cooperative and pleasant in post-game interviews.

       Evidently she is the same way as a guidance counselor, as several parents praised Aimee on Facebook for her work with their kids.

       So thanks Aimee, and enjoy your time with the family!

             * * *

     Is Derek Jeter retiring? No one seems to be reporting on it at all, except to ad nauseum. I want to puke it’s so over the top.

             * * *

     NFL Combines.

     People live for them.

     What am I missing here?

              * * *

    Creighton-Wichita State NCAA championship game? Cool!

             * * *

       Speaking of the NCAA, I have reached the point where I may literally flip a coin for every pick in my pool and see how that works out. Can’t be any worse than usual.
       Maybe that will be my strategy for Warren Bufffet's pool. Use a quarter to make a billion. 


Feb 14, 2014

Johnny Football

sure can make

things interesting

       Feb. 14: I don’t think it was a good idea for Johnny Manziel to say what you are about to read.

     But I love what he said.

     Read it first and then I’ll explain. It’s the Texas A&M quarterback talking to two Texas newspaper reporters about his home-state Houston Texans, and what it would mean for them to not make Manziel the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. He went on to add what would happen if Jacksonville took him with the No. 3 pick.

      “It would be the worst decision they’ve ever made,” Manziel said, while talking to reporters from the Houston Chronicle and Fort-Worth Star Telegram. “I’d be in the same division playing against them twice a year (with Jacksonville). Sorry, but you just turned that chip on my shoulder from a Frito into a Dorito.

      “I want them to say absolutely, without a doubt, with 100 percent certainty, that I’m who they want. I want everybody from the janitor at Reliant Stadium to the front office executive assistant all the way up to (owner) Bob McNair to say, ‘This kid is 100 percent, can’t miss. This is who we want being the face of our program. We want the Texas kid staying in Texas and leading the Texans.’”


      A 20-year-old pretty much calling out a team that has watched closely since childhood.

      The kneejerk reaction is “Who does he think he is? Who is this punk, who has never taken a snap in the NFL, to tell a team to take him? To make threats in such bold predictions?”

     Who indeed?

     Obviously, a kid whose confidence is even higher than I ever suspected. And I always suspected it was pretty high.

      First off, I love that “Frito into Dorito” line. Wish I had used that in a story at some point in my life, but never did. Not sure if he made it up. But I like it.

       Now, consider how boring Roger Goodell wants all his minions to be. It’s the one aspect of his own life he doesn’t feel the need to corner the market on. He wants everyone to be dull like him.

       Now consider you have a kid like this shooting his mouth off in a very, very pointed way before he even gets to the league. He could drive Goodell nuts! And that, I like. Goodell might mute him and make him boring, but I’ll take my chances.

       This is quite a gamble by Manziel, of course. These words will likely dog him into draft day and beyond. He has put himself out there for severe humiliation. In that same interview he went on to say he wanted to become the first rookie quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

       Every bad throw he makes, every bad game he has, those words will haunt him. Then again, every big game he has, announcers will remind us “He’s a confident young man, as we all know from what he said before the draft.”

        Linebackers who sack him will repeat those words as he lays smooshed on the ground beneath him. Richard Sherman. . . .oh God, what would Richard Sherman say?

        This could make Johnny Football a major joke in the annals of football. Or it could make him the next Joe Namath and then some.

      Either way, I love it! It’s refreshing to see someone talk this boldly about himself. He makes me think I really want him to do what he says.

       Others disagree, of course. Children should be seen and not heard. Yeah, right. The last time that happened Beaver and Wally were saving up for their first baseball gloves.

       Young guys have said similar things before, but man, when you actually bring up the janitor at Reliant Stadium, that’s just darn good stuff!

             * * * *

        When Richard Nixon lied about a break-in it was bad but it didn’t affect me personally. When Bill Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky, it was tacky, but my life went on as usual.

       One had to resign, the other was impeached.

      Barack Obama has lied about Obamacare. I know, because I’m being forced to switch to it and I am discovering I won’t have the same doctor or specialists I’ve had for years. That’s just the tip of what’s wrong.

      Now I am affected, in a very adverse way.

     This isn’t funny. It’s sad and scary.

     Not just for me, but for a whole lot of patients and people in the medical profession. One billing woman told me as I was trying to figure it all out “they are trying to dictate where people go for their health care.” I’m not going into specifics because you probably don’t care. But this all came to light today so I’m in a venting mood. For those of you in my situation, you know of what I speak and can relate.

       All I know is, when someone lies like this guy has, I hope he gets punished like the other two did. Only more severely, because now we are affected.

              * * * *
      After last week’s blog on the Beatles, our good buddy Bird “Farkas” Fink has requested an Ants reunion. OK Bird, I’ll see if I can get the lads together! Pretty sure the air guitars and drums still work.

             * * * *
      Ever since NCAA pools came into vogue, I always said if there were such things as time machines and I was given one trip in either direction, I’d get in on March 1 and set it for April 7 of that same year.

       I would then get out, check the internet and fill in the first perfect NCAA pool in world history. Folks scoffed at that, saying that was small-change thinking and that I should look at the stock market and clean up.

       My feeling was, I’d make a fortune in all the talk shows I would go on, explaining how I did this. I would lie about how I did it of course. Not only that, people would just think you were cool.  

      Well now, if I do it. I’ll get a billion dollars! That’s what Warren Buffet is offering to anyone who fills out a perfect NCAA pool. So I would get the billion, plus whatever I made on talk shows. Hell, I could actually own a talk show at that point.
       But there are no time machines, and I’m pretty sure despite the added incentive of a billion dollars, I’ll probably come up a little short of perfect again this year.

        Which is why I kind of laugh at Mr. Buffet’s offer. I forget what they call the actual number, but the odds are a 1 followed by 17 zeros-to-1 that this can be done. At the track, 17-to-1 odds are a long shot. This is a marathon-shot.

       I respect and admire Mr. Buffet, but what the hell! I can be a big man too. I’m offering 2 billion dollars to anyone who fills out the first perfect NCAA pool in history!

       Can I make good on that payment? Of course not.

       But I’m pretty sure that’s one offer that will never have to be paid out, until Mr. Spock actually becomes a college basketball fan.

Feb, 9, 2014



    Feb. 9: Forgive the trip down memory lane, but after watching the Grammy Beatles special tonight I just have to get it out of my system.

     Yes, I saw them on Ed Sullivan that first night, in a little living room in a little Cape Cod house on Andrea Lane in Mercerville.
      I was freaking out, so was my mom, and my World War II veteran dad just didn't get it. 

      The next day I sprinted to Mercerville School to share the experience with my classmates about what we all saw. We were freaking out, buzzing like maniacs. Our teacher Mrs. Arndt had to tell us to be quiet like, a million times.

      We were only in first grade and I still remember it vividly. It’s like the clearest memory I have that young (except for getting spanked). That’s a powerful presence.

       A year later, me and my pals – all of second grade now – decided we were going to form a group called The Ants. Clever huh? The extent of our musical ability was that we put on Beatles albums and did air guitar and air drums before anybody else.

      Shockingly, the Beatles lasted a bit longer than The Ants.

       Not only could we not conquer America, we couldn’t even conquer Regina Avenue.

     The Beatles, however, will last forever.

     They could have very easily been a one-year fad, or craze, like so many others have been. Come over to the U.S., cause a sensation with their songs about love and holding hands, and then just pop up on oldies stations – “Oh yeah, they were that band with the long hair that went ‘wooooh’!”

     But they matured, their music matured and they have written some of the greatest songs of all time beyond the realm of rock music. Their time as a group lasted through my time in elementary school.

      That’s only six years.

      Six years!

      And an impact that has lasted for 50.

     By the time I got to Nottingham Junior High, Jimmy Hendryx, Janis Joplin, the Doors and Three Dog Night were the main bands. And we liked them.

      But The Beatles never got out of our system. Ever. And after watching the special tonight, I’m feeling pretty good that we’re not alone.

     It blows my mind that young kids love this band that hasn’t played together in 44 years. It shouldn’t but it does, because none of us ever want to like the music of earlier generations. We want to like OUR music and to heck with what came before.

      To me and my pals from Mercerville School – Greg Edwards, Bob and Jack DeStefano, to name a few -- the Beatles will always be our music because it was the only thing we knew growing up other than nursery rhymes and, of course, the Monkees and Rolling Stones.

       We like other music as well, but we kind of feel a pride that so many generations after us still love The Beatles. It’s like, we feel they are ours because we had the good fortune of being on the ground floor of our lives when they were on the ground floor of becoming a dynasty.

       A lot of adults thought The Beatles would come and go back in the 1960s. They never dreamed that 50 years later a phenomenal special would be shown celebrating their arrival in America.

       That right there tells you how special they are. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a two-and-a-half hour anniversary special for Beethoven or Mozart; Sinatra or Crosby; Elvis or Chuck Berry. But there they were, people who weren’t even born during the first Ed Sullivan appearance, performing Beatles songs with pride.

       And when Ringo was singing his solos, I loved watching Paul McCartney sitting in the crowd, singing along as if he was just some schlub who bought a ticket to watch the show.

       Friends and I were texting back and forth all night, getting more sentimental and more amazed each 15 minutes at how good this show was.

      It made me want to get up and write this blog right away.

      And damn if I don’t feel like running to Mercerville School tomorrow and talking to everybody about the show.

      Fifty years later, some things never change.


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